Compassionate policing involves law enforcement engaging with their community through the process of building collaborative relationships, mutual trust and respect, common interests, and a sense of shared responsibility . Continuous exposure to confrontation and work stressors may result in an officer's inability to cope with the pressures, and therefore a loss of compassion when dealing with the public. This can lead to strained relationships with the citizens of the community. Compassionate policing goes beyond just the officers and extends to organizations as a whole. Its ideas and practices may also be applied to digital forensics and incident response.
Applying Compassionate Policing to Digital Forensic Services
It has been a common practice during investigations for victims to possibly have to forfeit their devices along with the suspects. Investigators have often had to seize all electronic devices found at a scene and submit these to digital forensic laboratories for analysis. Although, there are cases that may require lab processing there are others where immediate access to evidence is beneficial and appropriate. This is especially true when there is time-sensitive information contained on mobile devices. Not only does submitting devices to a forensic laboratory cause a backlog, but it also leaves individuals without their devices for longer periods.
In the U.S. alone, 245 million out of the total 307 million citizens have a data-capable mobile device, and 40 million of those are smartphones or wireless-enabled personal digital assistants .
Police digital forensics can implement compassionate policing by using techniques and digital forensics tools that give them the ability to obtain digital evidence on scene and leave the devices behind. Victims or families of a suspect are already going through a time of shock and distress, having to inconvenience their lives with the loss of their devices adds to this stress. An example is child exploitation investigations where every device in the suspect’s home may be seized including devices belonging to their spouse or children. They can view this as a burden for a crime they did not commit and it heavily disrupts their daily lives. By using on-site forensic triaging software investigators can instead scan devices on the scene and determine which ones have relevant data for their case and which devices they can leave behind.
The number of devices with internet access continues to grow along with crimes such as child exploitation. The public has become more aware of the need for immediate action and proper policing of these activities. Many agencies find themselves limited in resources, but implementing on-scene triage techniques can ensure cases are getting the timely attention they need and victims can feel confident in the work their local law enforcement is doing.
ADF’s Mobile Device Investigator supports compassionate policing by giving investigators a digital forensic tool that provides on-scene triage capabilities. Investigators can conduct an on-scene review of all available media to obtain immediate intelligence and determine which devices contain useful evidence and require additional processing.
Apply compassionate policing at all levels of your agency.