Tech summit to be held for improving disclosure of digital evidence

The tech summit aims at improving the disclosure of digital evidenceImage: The tech summit aims at improving the disclosure of digital evidence. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

The UK’s Attorney General’s Office and the Home Office announced that senior police officers, prosecutors and representatives of the technology sector will be taking part in a tech summit to discuss disclosure of digital evidence in the criminal justice system.

The tech summit, to be hosted at the Law Society’s offices in London, is aimed at improving the disclosure of digital evidence, said the UK government.

The participants include Solicitor General Lucy Frazer and Policing Minister Nick Hurd, who will be hosting Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird, along with representatives from the UK technology industry.

The focus of the tech summit will be on the handling of disclosing digital evidence in criminal cases. It will also look into how support can be provided to police and prosecutors for better handling of the surging volumes of digital evidence so that justice is served to victims.

As part of this, the tech summit will look at the programmes that are being currently used to interpret evidence apart from considering technological innovations.

Lucy Frazer said: “We need to do more to support the police and prosecutors to adapt to the increasing volume of digital material in the criminal justice system.

“The government is also determined to ensure that victims of sexual violence and all other crimes are not deterred from seeking justice because of fear of what could happen to their personal information.

“We must ensure full public confidence in the disclosure system.”

The tech summit comes after a disclosure review taken up by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox in November 2018. The review came to the conclusion that digital evidence was not always correctly handled by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), thereby giving scope for concerns regarding miscarriage of justice.

The disclosure review noted that with the increase in the quantity of data stored on smart phones and other devices, the workload of investigators and prosecutors studying digital evidence has increased significantly.

Nick Hurd said: “Technological advancements have created challenges – the average mobile phone today is capable of holding the data equivalent of around five million A4 pages.

“Police recognise the need to improve and it is right that the government works with forces, prosecutors and the tech sector to make sure both victims and criminals get the justice they deserve.”

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