Operations’ ultimate aim is to enable the FCN community to provide law enforcement with an efficient, effective, load-balanced ‘national grid’ of streamlined, digitised forensic science capabilities, each one operating to consistently high levels of quality and assurance.
This will help provide interoperability, support and resilience to all members at times of high demand or unforeseen, increased forensic requirements, as recently experienced in Greater Manchester Police and the Metropolitan Police Service.
To achieve this, Operations will:
- provide a secure networking platform, which will enable FCN members to share workload and increase overall resilience;
- use and maintain tried and tested infrastructure, coupled with proven designs to manage OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE data in the cloud, including:
- cost-effective storage and computing;
- best-of-breed secure networking and auditing products;
- containerisation technology to enable rapid builds and scalability on demand;
- architect the FCN platform to integrate with other police cloud services as they become available;
- provide secure, accredited cloud-based digital storage for forensic exhibits, imagery and associated data, for forensic units that wish to migrate from local storage. For those that don’t, FCN applications will also work with local data stores. The FCN platform will be fully compliant with Management of Police Information (MOPI) and forensic science-related legislative requirements;
- provide, as one of the platform’s core capabilities, digital business process management, including work flow, tasking, and prioritisation of work to:
- process the receipt of digitally transmitted crime scene data, ready for subsequent forensic activity;
- automatically prioritise and route forensic case work across the FCN;
- load balance forensic case work based upon available capacity in different FCN bureaux at different times;
- enable process standardisation, thereby simplifying accreditation;
- provide a user-friendly browser-based portal and mobile application access;
- provide integration with a range of local and national systems, ranging from local criminal case and evidence management systems to national capabilities such as IDENT1 and NLEDS;
- act as an intelligent customer, when interacting with technical programmes such as HOB, so that the FCN community’s interests are represented effectively and national technical capabilities developed accordingly;
- maintain a Technical Design Authority to manage the evolution of the platform’s architecture and technical services;
- design the platform to provide ISO-compliant auditing capabilities.
In time, and dependent upon continuing investment from the Police Transformation Fund or similar funding sources, Operations plans to:
- offer comprehensive tracking of all forensic evidence and exhibits e.g. physical location, moves and uses etc;
- provide powerful elastic search capabilities to make it easy for users to locate and access items of interest;
- offer FCN members a new national forensic case and records management solution to replace local forensic case management systems altogether.