Forensic examiners - 563/18

Date Responded 26 June 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. Do you have dedicated mobile device forensic examiners?
  2. What is their level of education and training?
  3. What specialist training and qualifications do they have for mobile device examinations?
  4. How many devices per annum receive a full physical and logical examination ?
  5. How many devices per annum receive only a full physical examination?
  6. Do you have specially trained analysts who can recover and interpret data not covered by industry standard tools? 

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 within 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. Yes 

2&3.This information will not be disclosed and by doing so we rely on the following exemption to withhold. Staff education and training are their personal information and therefore Section 40(2) is applicable

Section 40(2) Personal Information:

This is an absolute exemption and therefore a Public Interest Test is not relevant.  However, for clarity, I will explain my rationale for engaging this exemption.

Section 40(2) provides that information is exempt if it is the personal data of someone other than the applicant and disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles. The term ‘personal data’ means data that relates to a living individual who can be identified.  This may take an obvious form of ‘personal’ such as a name but can also include information from which a person can be identified. Although not explicitly naming individuals, the cumulative effect of full disclosure may lead to the identification of those staff.

A disclosure in this instance, because it is so specific, would infringe the first Data Protection Principle, in that it would be ‘unfair’.

I can advise outside of the Act  that there are no national standards.  Training is provided to suit the types of technology utilised in these examinations.

4. This is not held statistically, so we do not hold a response.  I can advise, outside of the Act,  that an estimate of 12,000 devices has been provided by the information holders. 

5. This is not held statistically, so we do not hold a response.  I can advise, outside of the Act, if a mobile device is read it will usually be Logical / File System and then where possible Physical. 

  1. No information held as there are no ‘defined industry standard tools.’ 
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