The first ever national online platform for forensic science in UK policing has seen its initial service go live for testing.

Called FCN Xchange, the platform will enable FCN’s members across England and Wales to connect to each other, share data and services and access new digital forensics tools. It is being developed by the NPCC Transforming Forensics programme and Forensic Capability Network (FCN), guided by technology and scientific experts from across the policing and forensic community.

FCN Xchange is hosted securely on the cloud and accessed via a web browser and will be available to the Network.

It will support forensics teams to increase productivity, speed-up turnaround times and deliver higher-quality analysis of evidence for investigations. It will also provide nationally consistent, standardised processes and enable forces to work better together, making them more effective and resilient.

Jo Ashworth, FCN CEO, said:

“We’re hugely proud to be delivering FCN Xchange. The platform will enable collaboration across the Network and share data and information and manage risk in ways we haven’t before. This will lead to better operational outcomes for forces, and a better service for victims of crime and the public we serve”.

The first technical release deployed on Xchange is a digital fingerprint capability currently being tested by five forces in the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and scheduled to be fully deployed by forces in the South West Forensics collaboration this summer.

Other data-driven services will be added to Xchange in the coming months, with FCN’s electronic quality management system scheduled to move to the platform by November. 

Jo added:

“We believe the platform is ground-breaking not just for forensics in the UK but for policing, as Xchange has the potential to host other disciplines and areas of law enforcement.”

FCN Xchange has been designed in line with National Cyber Security Centre Cloud Security principles and is aligned to the National Policing Digital and Data Strategy.

Transforming Forensics is working closely with the National Policing Information Risk Management Team (NPIRMT) to ensure the highest levels of information assurance and is partnering with Police ICT Company which has supported the design of the platform and is organising the service contract that will accompany it.

It is anticipated that FCN Xchange will receive final endorsement from NPIRMT in August 2021.