Technology has permanently changed the way justice organisations operate. It has created the ‘instant gratification generation’ – with any answers and purchases simply a click away. This has inevitably changed public perception about how justice organisations respond to and process incidents of crime. 

But technology is also a real enabler for change. Increasing amounts of evidence is recorded on citizens’ mobile phones and other devices, or even created in digital format by justice organisations themselves (including video witness testimonies). The efficient ingestion and sharing of this data can enable more effective policing and prosecution of crime. 

Traditional mechanisms of transferring this data, such as USBs and CDs/DVDs, have proven too insecure and too inefficient. Most commonly, delivery (including secure couriers) takes time and these devices are susceptible to being accidentally misplaced. 

How can technology improve these processes?
One example is Operation SNAP in Wales. Following reductions in traffic police of 43% across the UK, it has become increasingly difficult to monitor instances of reckless driving and improve driver behaviour. For police in wales, it took an average of 15 hours to process each incident reported. 

Revolutionising this process, Operation SNAP has enabled citizens to securely upload digital files caught by their dashcams, alongside statements about the incidents, for review by the police. This change has led to:

-Reduced the time required to investigate incidents from 15 hours to 20 minutes
-Reduced the time required for citizens to submit video footage from 90 minutes to 10 minutes
-Led to 140 submissions per month by citizens reporting incidents of reckless driving 
-Potentially reduced road fatalities by 40%

What’s more, all data is encrypted as it’s uploaded and stored within an encrypted environment – ensuring citizens’ data remains protected in line with GDPR. 

You can read more about this project here.

More efficient justice
This is one of many examples of how technology is improving efficiency in UK Justice. We work with other police services and dashcam providers, such as Nextbase, to run similar projects to support the secure ingestion of digital evidence. We also work with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to support the ‘onward sharing’ (transfer) of digital evidence files with legal professionals and other authorised third parties. 

Ultimately, it follows that the efficient and secure sharing of this data leads to more efficient justice, with citizens’ best interest at the centre and their data safely protected. 


Neil Larkins is the Chief Technology Officer for Egress

Egress is a partner organisation of FutureScot and will exhibit at Digital Justice & Policing 2019.