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Technology seizures - 670/18

Date Responded 24 July 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.What is your procedure/ policy for deciding when it is appropriate to take technology from a suspect and if it is taken what is the policy/ procedures in place for deciding what happens to it next.   

2. Does all technology automatically have to be sent away for testing or do you use any ‘in house’ testing first. If this is the case how is it determined what needs to be sent away and what does not.

3. What are the current time frames involved for technology that has to be investigated.  An idea of the shortest, longest and average times.

4.  Does the answer to question 3 depend on a priority system and what is your policy for determining priority. 

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Crime Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows. 

1.Northumbria Police adhere to Code B of the Police And Criminal Evidence Act.  You may wish to search that for further on this point. 

2. The vast majority of devices seized are analysed “In-House”. It is very rare that any items are sent away. Northumbria Police has a fully equipped Digital Forensic Unit with fully trained staff. 

3. Urgent cases are commenced within 24 hours

High Priority cases are commenced within 3 months

Standard Priority Cases are commenced within 5 months

We hold no information regarding ‘average’ times. 

4.  There is a priority matrix system in place.  The officer in charge of the case completes a questionnaire and this is scored. The resultant score assists the Digital Forensics Unit  Manager or his deputy, decide on the priority of the case. The final decision rests with the DFU Manager and this is arrived at in conjunction with the requesting member of staff. 

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