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UK Budget Cuts Place Pressure on Law Enforcement Agencies to Conduct Investigations More Efficiently

Christopher Johnson

Dec 21 2018

British residents are familiar with the usual debates about public spending priorities and how government resources should be best allocated, but national discussions have taken on a more urgent tone in recent months due to the most significant fiscal changes to ever hit law enforcement agencies in the UK.

In June 2018, the three most senior police officers in England and Wales testified before the home affairs select committee that “funding cuts and pressure on resources are hampering their ability to tackle serious crime,” according to The Guardian.

As the year progressed, cash shortages brought on by the budget cuts, changes to the way that English and Welsh police forces are organized and reforms to UK law enforcement pension funding combined to escalate the resource pressure. Then earlier this month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan sounded the alarm when he reported that the number of police officers in London could plummet to its lowest level in 16 years unless funding is urgently increased.

“Police officer numbers have fallen by more than 20,000 in England and Wales since 2010, and many officers blame government cuts for worsening the drivers of crime and hampering the response,” reported The Independent.

The Digital Investigations Workload

When asked by UK legislators on the home affairs select committee to state their biggest area of concern likely to be impacted by the funding cuts, senior police officers from England and Wales all highlighted the same thing: the surging workload related to digital evidence and cybercrime. One police commissioner estimated the amount of data that officers have to deal with doubles every 18 months.

Sadly, this growth in workload is now coinciding with a decline in the resources available to law enforcement agencies to manage that load. Public agency budgets are under constant pressure, which places limitations on new funds available to hire the number of forensic examiners needed to keep up with the volume of evidence waiting to be processed. Unfortunately, by the time those devices are examined, it’s often too late to follow many of the leads that are produced.

The result of these simultaneous ominous trends has been a surge in case backlogs and a delay in the administration of justice at all levels of government law enforcement. In order to cope with these serious resource challenges, it is more important than ever for UK law enforcement professionals to leverage technology solutions that allow them to “do more with less” in their digital investigations.

For example, UK police agencies are actively searching for new software solutions that enable investigators to collaborate in real time and from any location so they can work more efficiently. Tools that help law enforcement professionals to carry out their digital forensics investigations in a way that is smarter and faster, while maintaining data security and integrity, may well be police agencies’ most powerful weapon for dealing with the resource limitations currently in place.

AccessData Introduces FTK® and AD Lab 7.0

Here is the good news for UK law enforcement agencies: AccessData just launched FTK 7.0 and AD Lab 7.0, new versions of our digital forensics software solutions that enable investigators to analyze mobile application data faster than ever before possible.

FTK and AD Lab are the premier tools for full-scale digital forensics investigations and the new features we have added with the 7.0 versions of the software allow our customers to streamline and tackle mobile data analysis faster than ever. In fact, in scientific testing, FTK 7.0 and AD Lab 7.0 were able to process more than 7 TB of data in just 24 hours.

Moreover, the new versions of these software tools feature the addition of nine new mobile parsers, including some of the most popular applications used on mobile platforms. This allows investigators to parse key data from mobile applications and analyze the data from within a single forensics tool.

To effectively tackle digital forensic investigations in spite of cuts in funding, UK police investigators need reliable tools that deliver flexibility, scalability, customization and a powerful processing engine. The functionality added with the 7.0 releases of FTK and AD Lab provide law enforcement professionals with technology tools that help them work faster and smarter.

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