PCC Kathryn Holloway and Chief Constable Jon Boutcher in the cyber van Image: Bedfordshire Police

Digital media devices to be triaged at the scene

Bedfordshire Police is the first force in the country to have a vehicle dedicated to triaging digital media devices. This will speed up the process of investigating cyber crimes.

The cyber van will be taken to warrants so that investigators can test mobile phones, tablets and laptops whilst at the scene. Then only devices that need further testing can be removed. The testing is carried out at the cyber laboratory at the force’s headquarters in Kempston.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kathryn Holloway gave £42,000 to fund the bespoke vehicle.

She said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been able to invest more than £40,000 in the cyber van. The van is capable of forensically examining up to six digital devices at the same time, on the spot.

Beds Police's new digital media devices to be triaged at the scene Image: Bedfordshire Police

The force’s Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team (ICAIT) currently carries out two or three warrants a week. Each one could result in three or four devices per resident at an address.

The PCC said:

“On the very first day of its operation, the team uncovered evidence of the highest category of indecent images of children just 30 seconds after starting to look for it.

“The cyber van not only offers the opportunity of advancing justice and catching criminals, such as paedophiles, on the same day, but allows these innocent members of a household to be reunited with the digital devices that we all need to live our lives to the full in 2018.”

Force has a backlog of devices to test

The huge expansion in this area of crime over recent years has resulted in a backlog of devices.

Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher said:

“Crime has changed a lot in the last five years and phones are hardly used as just phones now, with people committing crimes through their devices.

“I am very proud of how our officers’ exceptional work has put us in a leading position for dealing with cyber crime; one of the greatest modern-day challenges of policing.”

The force’s cyber hub, established in 2015, combines multiple teams specialising in digital forensics, cyber crime investigation and ICAIT.

For more information on the hub and what the force is doing about this type of crime, visit the cyber hub and online safety pages on Bedfordshire Police’s website.