Meeting the new challenges of digital evidence management

Dealing with the scale and complexity of evidence in rich-media formats (images, video and audio) is one of the key challenges in evidence management for…

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Will Cook

December 12, 20234 minutes read

Dealing with the scale and complexity of evidence in rich-media formats (images, video and audio) is one of the key challenges in evidence management for law enforcement and security organizations today. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, people are creating more content than ever. This is only one source of potential evidence – along with CCTV, body cameras, dash cameras, doorbell cameras and drone footage plus many others – which must be scrutinized to determine whether it is relevant to a case. The sheer volume of evidence is driving up the cost of resolving cases, increasing resolution times, and decreasing close rates.

Law enforcement and security agencies are adopting new technologies and developing new capabilities to meet the challenge of securely and efficiently handling the vast scale and complexity of evidence in a modern policing environment. Digital Evidence Management Systems (DEMS) empower agencies to better serve and protect citizens during day-to-day operations and in the face of major incidents by enhancing their capability to collect, manage, search, analyze, and share evidence.

Collect evidence securely from all sources, in all formats

Digital evidence can come from many sources, in an enormous range of formats. Video and images can come from the public, from officers’ dash cameras or body cameras, from CCTV, and many others. With over 3,000 video formats in use by the CCTV industry alone, even viewing footage can be a challenge. A DEMS provides tools to ingest all this potential evidence, securely virus-checked and converted to a standard format (for ease of handling, and as a security measure) enabling effective management of all evidence.

Search, manage, collaborate and share evidence and assets efficiently

A DEMS should provide a single, centralized repository of digital evidence for a law enforcement agency. This reduces or eliminates the need for detectives to log on to multiple systems or travel to collect or access evidence, saving time and reducing cost and security risks for transporting evidence. Viewing images and video on mobile devices is an important capability, enabling investigators to have quick access to evidence in the field.

Typically, a DEMS solution should feature powerful tools for managing evidence throughout all phases of its lifecycle, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), for automaton, powerful and intuitive search capabilities, and annotation/collaboration tools for collaboration.

Harness the power of secure AI to help with evidence management

Many law enforcement and security organizations have already started experimenting with AI. OpenText AI powered by IDOL delivers secure, trainable image analysis and metadata. Control where and how images are analyzed, ensuring security and confidentiality. In addition, a DEMS should support your AI engine of choice (Microsoft® Azure® Computer Vision, Amazon RekognitionTM or GoogleTM Vision AI) to auto-tag images by number of people, faces, age, gender, descriptions, objects and colors.  

Videos can be automatically tagged with time-coded speech-to-text transcripts with speaker identification and even tagging of known celebrities based on a database of one million people. Both images and video benefit from optical character recognition (OCR) scanning of in-frame text, brand recognition and label identification. As a result, categorization and searching of assets become far more useful while requiring less user time to set up. 

Maintain security, governance and chain of custody

A DEMS system must, above all else, support the paramount concern for evidence management: maintaining security, governance and preserving the chain of custody to ensure evidence is admissible in court. Access to assets should be safeguarded with flexible and granular user and asset security policies. Full audit logs must be automatically maintained, detailing who accessed the piece of evidence, and any operations performed upon it. The original piece of evidence, in its raw format, must always be preserved, should it be required for legal proceedings.

Digital evidence management by OpenText

If you’re interested in learning more about digital evidence management, download the Executive brief.

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Will Cook

Will is responsible for providing expertise in omnichannel customer engagement and digital customer experience. He works with leading companies to help them better understand customer interactions across multiple channels and deliver compelling, personalized and targeted customer experiences that deliver the right business outcomes and measurable ROI.

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