Police handed 200 devices a month to examine as backlog hits 363 in Hampshire

HUNDREDS of devices linked to criminal cases are waiting to be examined, figures have shown.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 10:29 am

Data published by the PA news agency shows 363 digital devices were due to be examined, were being examined or were under review.

The figures were obtained in February and March and come as the Police Federation of England and Wales warned that forces were ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of devices related to investigations.

In Hampshire, the hi-tech crime team and phone examination team each receive around 100 devices a month accepted for examination.

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Samantha Howard, scientific support services manager at Hampshire police, said devices are triaged depending on the severity of the crime involved.

She said: ‘We continue to prioritise high harm, high-risk offences and work hard to ensure all key dates within an investigation, such as bail and court cases, are met.’

She added: 'To help us keep our examinations within the ideal timescales we are recruiting beyond our establishment and utilising external companies to meet the demand, as well as working with industry and academia to review and refresh our processes.

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‘As devices become more complex we are continually exploring new techniques for the extraction of data.

‘Some of the data extraction methods themselves can take months to complete especially when exploring encryption and password recovery.’

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