👨🎓 From academia to action! 👨🔬🎬
📱 Meet the dynamic duo whose advanced digital skills are helping the Force take on some of its most complex and challenging investigations 💻
Until last August Zac Rivett and Adam Williams had never set foot in a police station - but that didn’t stop the ambitious pair from applying to work in our fast-paced digital forensics unit (DFU) - the tech hub which analyses devices seized from suspects and victims alike to help the Force investigate all types of crime, ranging from murders and sexual exploitation, to frauds and burglaries.
Both third year Computer and Digital Forensics students at the University of Northumbria, the talented twosome fought off fierce competition from their classmates to secure full-time roles with the Force for a year – putting their academic skills into action in the world of modern policing.
Zac, who is originally from Chester-le-Street, says the experience has been a complete learning curve, but was ‘delighted’ to start working with the Force.
The 21-year-old said: “I enrolled on my course with the aim of getting a job in the police after graduation. It’s been a great experience so far and I’m learning so much every day. It’s really nice to see that a lot of the digital forensics investigators who work here qualified on my course and they make a lot of effort to make sure I’m constantly developing my skills.
“It’s a big responsibility to have and I’ve not seen any other police forces offer this opportunity to other students so I’m determined to make sure I do my best.”
Adam, 22, who is from Darlington works alongside Zac in the unit’s reception.
He said: “It’s a really interesting role and great to see how our skills from university are transferable into the world of policing.
“I take it very seriously - what we’re doing has real-world significance, consequences for real people and we are part of the evidence trail.”
The pair are responsible for processing all seized devices and carrying out procedures which identify any storage devices may have, and copying any relevant data onto a replica.
It’s these procedures, known as pre-imaging and imaging, which help our Digital Forensic Investigators to identify crucial evidence and create exhibits which will eventually help bring offenders to justice.
Richard Cockerill, who oversees the running of the department added: “We’re incredibly proud to have such a close working relationship with Northumbria University as many of our staff trained there.
“Zac and Adam do an incredible job for us – it’s amazing what they help us to achieve considering their age and circumstances.
“Our recruitment process is very rigorous as we need to make sure we are hiring people who have the relevant skillset but who also have the desire to work in such a fast-paced and challenging environment. As you can imagine, some of the cases we deal with can be very hard-hitting and involve disturbing material and we wouldn’t expose our staff to that if we weren’t 100% confident in their abilities.
“A lot of students from Northumbria university who end up getting a placement with us often do go on to gain employment in the digital forensics world so it’s fantastic we can prepare them for this.
“We’re always on the lookout for bight and skilled individuals who want to be challenged.”
We’ll soon be announcing details of virtual recruitment events for police staff roles, including digital forensics investigators. Keep an eye on our Northumbria Police Linkedin for more information.