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Date Responded 21 December 2018

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

  1. Is your force currently collecting digital information from devices belonging to complainants of sexual offences? For reference, "collecting digital information" in this context should be taken to mean and include any form of examination, access, extraction, copying or download of such digital information from digital devices, whether by self-service kiosks (SSKs), other device extraction software, or by external digital forensic examiners.
  2. Does your force currently have any digital devices awaiting examination? If yes, please provide details of:  i.The number of devices currently awaiting examination.  ii. The average wait time for a digital device to be examined.
  3. Does your force seek consent from complainants of sexual offences for the collection and/or disclosure of their personal information from their digital device or a third party organisation such as medical records, counselling records, local authority records or educational records?
  4. Does your force currently use any form of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other automated system to analyse the digital information collected from complainants of sexual offences’ digital devices? For reference, "collected" in this context should be taken to mean and include any form of examination, access, extraction, copying or download of such digital information from digital devices, whether by self-service kiosks (SSKs), other device extraction software, or by external digital forensic examiners. If yes, please provide details of: i.The system or technology that your force is currently using.  ii. For what purpose the system or technology is being used.
  5. Is your force currently trialling any form of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other automated system to analyse the digital information collected from complainants’ digital devices or have plans to trial or use this technology in the next 2 years? If yes, please provide details of: i. the system or technology that your force is planning on using or trialling.  ii. for what purpose the system or technology will be used.
  6. Does your force currently request, access or obtain information about complainants of sexual offences from third parties as part of investigations into sexual offences, including but not limited to material held by local authorities, medical and psychiatric records, counselling records, and school or education records?

 

In Response:

  1. Yes
  2. Yes i.  To provide a response at this point would entail contacting all officers/staff in the force to establish if they held any digital exhibits. This exercise would engage Section 12 of the Act as this would far exceed the permitted 18 hour threshold and therefore result in your whole request being refused.  However in order to provide you with something I can advise that currently the Digital Forensic Unit has 816 exhibits awaiting analysis .ii No information held.  We do not hold average wait times.
  3. Yes
  4. & 5.

Northumbria Police does not currently employ any Artificial Intelligence Systems. All analysis following data extraction/collection is currently carried out manually. Whilst all analysis following data extraction/collection is currently carried out manually by the analysts we are currently trialling two telecommunication software solutions which, if procured, would allow the analyst to import the data extraction file and analyse this file alongside other forms of data (including call data records).  Either of these systems will then identify matches between different forms of communication and highlight any links, however the analyst will still be required to manually go through each extraction as previously.

6. Yes

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