Forensics frequently takes its turn to be front and centre of news coverage, and often not in a positive way. It was refreshing to see the trend of negativity being truly bucked recently with BBC Two’s ‘Forensics: The Real CSI’.
This insight of an often over-glamourised area of policing on TV highlighted how forensics is an intrinsic thread throughout an investigation from the very start, to the very finish, not just when those wearing white suits attend a scene.
This is exactly why everything must be done to ensure forces can excel in this important area. It is also exactly what we are working to achieve through Transforming Forensics (TF) and not with a one off, sticking plaster fix, but in a way that allows the service to keep pace with changing demands – many of which we cannot predict but ones that we know will happen.
Solid foundations with national oversight are the building blocks and this will become reality through the Forensic Capability Network (FCN). Officially, we talk about having an FCN Initial Operating Capability (IOC) from April 2020, but many forces already benefit from services the developing FCN has and will deliver, including assistance around accreditation, commercial support and early piloting of work to develop an effective response to the burgeoning challenge of our ever-increasing digital world.
And these benefits continue to grow. We recently saw the completion of an initial wave of TF Internal Auditor training with 70 colleagues from 41 organisations completing courses. A refreshed CSI Expert Network event brought colleagues from all regions together to share learning and over 90% of delegates will now play an active role in existing TF established workstreams. We also kick-started a new TF-funded Digital Forensics ‘Technology’ pilot.
I’m excited to say that we released our FCN Prospectus on 21 June to chief officers, PCCs and forensic leaders, feedback to which was discussed at Chief Constables’ Council and the APCC General Meeting in July. This document helps provide clarity on what services and support will be available through the FCN to enhance our forensic capabilities at a local, regional and national level – making us a world leader in this arena once again.