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in Policing

PUBLISHED: 18 September 2023

Smart Digital Forensic Advisor for First Responders - Seeking Policing Partners


Following a recent UKRI hosted Forensic Sandpit event, the following project has recieved funding to progress to proof of concept:  

Towards a Smart Digital Forensic Advisor to Support First Responders with At-Scene Triage of Digital Evidence Across Crime Types.

The project is seeking policing partners to develop the tool and develop early-stage low fidelity proof of concepts for the users to consider. If you are interested in supporting this project, please see the summary below and contact Dr Mark Warner at the University of Central London. Mark has first hand experience of the application of digital technology and device management having been once a digital forensic examiner.


A team of researchers led by University College London (UCL) have received funding for a 1-year project that aims to lay the foundations for the development of a smart digital forensic advisor for first responders to help them apply a consistent and evidence-based approach to performing digital evidence triage at-scene. They will explore existing practices, resources, challenges, and user needs around the process of search and seizure of digital devices across two distinct crime types. Through this, they will identify data that could be used to inform the smart advisor tool, and data gaps that the tool itself could address. They will also be exploring both the legal and ethical implications of its use, due to the tools potential in helping to shape decision-making. Finally, drawing on their findings they will develop a set of early-stage low-fidelity prototypes to present back to user groups.

The team are currently looking for partners to support this research, which they expect to start in 2024 (Q1). Support is needed to help facilitate access to different groups across policing, for interviews and workshops. These groups include: first responders, specialist officers and staff (including digital forensics, DMIs), and senior officers and staff with strategic oversight. Where possible the team would also like non-custodial access to completed case information (redacted where necessary) for a more comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in the investigations being explored.

If this is something you would be interested in, then please contact the project lead Dr Mark Warner ([email protected]). The team are ideally looking to receive letters of support from partners before 28th September 2023. Financial contributions are not being sought, but instead the team are seeking in-kind contributions such as staff time in advising and supporting the research.