New technology is allowing police in Cumbria to effectively capture and manage evidence.
Cumbria Constabulary is the first police force in the country to adopt Axon Citizen, which is a product that enables members of the public to submit digital evidence quickly and securely without the need for their devices to be handed in.
The digital evidence management system has been complimented by a roll-out of personal issue body-worn video equipment to all police officers.
The equipment, which is funded by the Office of the Cumbria Police & Crime Commissioner, enables officers to effectively capture initial evidence that could prove crucial to any subsequent investigation. PCSOs and Special Constables are using pooled body worn video cameras.
Previously when a member of the public had electronic evidence it may have been necessary for police to request the device be taken away from the owner to securely retrieve any evidence. Now police are able to use a system that sends a text or email with a URL asking for any data to be uploaded. This is then securely sent to the investigating officer and available for police to use as evidence.
Superintendent Matt Kennerley, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “We are delighted to be working with Axon to help capture and store the best possible evidence in order to bring criminals to justice.
“The benefits of the digital evidence system provides officers with less bureaucracy when investigating crime whilst limiting impact on potential witnesses. Previously if a member of the public had evidence saved on a mobile phone, or other device, we would require them to hand it in so we could extract the evidence and physically store it on our systems. Now we send them a URL to simply upload photos or videos to a secure online storage resource.
“The new process increases our capability of obtaining higher-quality evidence which assists greatly in identifying and prosecuting offenders.
“The roll-out of personal issue body-worn video equipment significantly improves the opportunity for officers to capture initial evidence that can prove critical. It has already proven an essential tool for officers since its inception.
“In some cases it has led to early guilty pleas due to the strength of the evidence gathered against an offender. This means officers can spend less time in court and more time making a difference to the communities of Cumbria.
“Further to the benefits of evidence quality, body worn video has also provided a positive impact in preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. We have noticed that where it is used it can often modify people’s behaviour, and help deescalate situations, as those involved know that their actions will be recorded.
“The Constabulary is committed to exploring developing technology so we can supply the best possible policing service to our communities.”
Police & Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “It is really important that Cumbria Constabulary is at the forefront of new technology, and using innovative ways to deliver improved policing services in the county.
“As a small force we have to do all we can to reduce bureaucracy and have officers on our streets where the public need them to be, this type of technology helps to deliver this. It is my belief that Cumbia’s police officers need to have the tools and resources to allow them to tackle crime, bring offenders to justice and keep our communities safer which is why I welcome the implementation of the new system, and look forward to seeing what impact it will have.”