Earlier in this chapter we described the numerous new specialist tools and capabilities that the FCN will introduce over the next few years.
Although many are being designed to support almost any forensic capability in the future, the initial focus for the majority is fingerprints, since this is one of the most advanced Transforming Forensics projects and is running in tandem with the Home Office Biometrics Programme to maximise forensic outcomes for policing.
Improving fingerprint capture and identification is, however, not just about introducing new capabilities. It is as much about introducing a new operating model, standardising processes, supporting adoption and delivering effective support to users. Operations will be responsible for the whole of this lifecycle: from managing the transition of new capabilities into business as usual to managing workflows, improving processes, providing management information and resolving user issues relating to FCN services.
Most of the above will only become visible when the new services go live. However, the FCN is already helping to streamline some operating models, building upon best practice already identified and implemented in some forces. The move from a threecheck to a two-check fingerprint verification model is one example: introduced with NPCC authority (see the chapter entitled For policing by policing) but updated through Transforming Forensics / FCN research, analysis, validation and business change support. A second, scheduled for later this summer, will see the introduction and rollout of a decision framework to help forensic leaders reduce demand. A third, scheduled for later this year, will see the release of a standardised end-to-end fingerprint process as a basis to develop the future technical solutions.
These, of course, are only a few steps towards a streamlined, networked future digital fingerprinting operating model. Within the next three years, the FCN is seeking to achieve the following scale of transformation across all its members’ fingerprint identification capabilities.
In the previous three chapters, we have explained how Science and Quality will support proof of concept trials and the subsequent deployment of new digital forensic capabilities; how Quality is supporting the creation of a national configuration authority, new validation packages and a catalogue of validated capabilities; and how Commercial is developing a digital forensics services / market place strategy and progressing the collaborative procurement of mobile device data extraction and reporting solutions.
Operations will, of course, support any of the new capabilities that are routed through the FCN ICT platform. However, Operations will also support any investment or restructuring decisions emanating from the current Transforming Forensics digital forensics business case, which is considering the best way for law enforcement to meet the huge challenges faced in this area of forensic science.
Operations will be the business as usual home of many of the functions currently undertaken by the Transforming Forensics business transition team.
This will include regular liaison with FCN members (account management); support with ongoing capability maturity assessments; and support when adopting new FCN capabilities or making FCN-related process improvements.