Enhancing Police Technology: Simplifying Digital Evidence Management

Axon Public Safety Ltd
March 25, 2024

The collection of digital evidence from the public and businesses is increasingly a challenge for police forces and criminal justice agencies today. Officers struggle to efficiently extract footage and data from CCTV systems, mobile devices, and other sources due to technical barriers and time-intensive manual processes. These difficulties have downstream impacts across the criminal justice system. Delayed or incomplete evidence bundles reduce the ability of prosecutors to make fully informed charging decisions, and also hamper timely disclosure to defence solicitors, leading to late plea agreements.

dems_modernising_criminal_justice_conf

A recent report on the Digital Evidence Sharing Capability (DESC) pilot in Scotland found that issues with evidence collection can result in significant inefficiencies, delays, and even cases being dropped due to poor quality or lost evidence. With court backlogs in the UK at an all-time high, there is an urgent need for solutions. The DESC report highlights how the initiative aims to transform the management of digital evidence for police and criminal justice agencies in Scotland. However, realising these benefits relies on seamless integration at every step - from collection to conviction. Axon provides this link with its suite of technologies purpose-built for digital evidence management throughout the criminal justice system.

For police forces, a major pain point can be collecting evidence like CCTV footage and mobile phone videos from the public and businesses. Axon solutions like Community Requests drastically streamline the collection and management of digital evidence. By enabling direct public submission of photos and videos via smartphone, Community removes the need for officers to physically collect and extract data from devices - saving up to 2 hours per request. These time savings quickly compound across a police force. Some agencies have managed to save 50,000 officer hours over just 6 months after adopting Community Requests. With less time spent collecting and processing evidence, officers can focus efforts on frontline policing duties. By simplifying workflows, Axon allows officers to spend more time serving communities and less time handling evidence.

Once evidence is collected, Axon Evidence eliminates the need for manually processing files, burning footage to disks, and physically transporting them between agencies. All digital evidence is stored securely in the cloud, accessible to authorised users anywhere with an internet connection. Prosecutors can instantly access footage to inform charging decisions, and seamlessly share with defence lawyers and enable swift case resolutions.

At trial, Axon Capture allows officers to easily crop, zoom, and annotate video evidence right from their smartphone – no more grainy, pixelated footage that fails to identify perpetrators. By presenting compelling digital evidence clearly and in better quality, more cases can be resolved through guilty pleas or successful prosecutions.

By making collection and sharing of evidence simpler, the criminal justice system can focus resources on delivering justice - not paperwork - and ensure greater coordination between law enforcement and the justice system. As demonstrated by the recent Scotland DESC report, adopting the Axon ecosystem will help criminal justice agencies boost efficiency, improve transparency, and rebuild public trust by delivering swifter justice for victims and communities across the UK.

Learn more from Axon at this year's Modernising Criminal Justice Conference on the 6th of June at the QEII Conference Centre in London. The event brings together the complete justice system, from arrest through to release.