Quality, as well as guiding the design of a new electronic Quality Management System, has been creating a series of interim knowledge bases, which are interactive PDF documents with links to important reference material, advice and guidance.
As of April 2019, three have already been published (Crime Scene Investigation, Fingerprints and Digital). Another (Fire Investigation) is scheduled for release shortly
The FSR’s deadline for police forces and law enforcement agencies to obtain ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation for their CSI capabilities is October 2020. Given the breadth of a CSI’s activities, this challenge makes the recent fingerprint bureau accreditation challenge look rather modest.
To help the FCN community meet this challenge, Quality is currently spearheading the national CSI work streams for accreditation and validation of CSI end-to-end processes for ‘simple’ / ‘volume’ crime scenes. These are aligned to key activities including: anti-contamination, detained property, recovery garages, drying cabinets, training and competency, and national procurement of consumables; and involves working with the FCN community; identifying best practice; identifying gaps; and producing a comprehensive set of validation and verification plans. This will enable increased efficiency for CSI accreditation across a number of evidence types. Quality will then extend this approach to major / complex crime scenes
Gaining ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for fingerprint identification bureaux has been a huge challenge for police forces. By the FSR’s deadline of October 2018, only 8% of England and Wales fingerprint bureaux, expressed in terms of activity, had met its accreditation requirements. Accreditation became a legal requirement on 25th March 2019 and by that date more than 60% of fingerprint bureaux capacity had been accredited, with a further 25% having been recommended for accreditation.
This has involved huge effort by police forces and their fingerprint bureaux but the FCN Quality team has also played a significant role by co-ordinating effort, sharing good practice, providing advice and guidance, and undertaking preassessment checks.
Over the next 12 – 18 months, as both the Home Office Biometrics and the Transforming Forensics Programmes introduce new fingerprint identification capabilities (covered in more detail in Operations) and a new operating model, Quality will work with the FCN community to validate new processes and methods, develop new standard operating procedures and prepare FCN members for their inclusion in the next round of accreditation.
Quality is currently supporting a number of the digital forensics work packages within the Transforming Forensics Programme. These include:
- creating a national validation package for level 1 mobile phone data extractions;
- designing and delivering a framework for a national Configuration Authority to support the digital forensics community in meeting their ISO/IEC 17020 and 17025 accreditation requirements and the FSR’s Codes of Practice and Conduct (FCN’s ‘validate once; verify many’ approach);
- developing a catalogue of validated, verified and then accredited digital forensic capabilities;
- a proof of concept research trial involving automated mass ingestion and remote search and review capabilities (described in more detail in the Science chapter).
The previous chapter described Science’s role in supporting the development and deployment of new capabilities. Quality’s role will dovetail with that of Science and involve
- creating an appropriate validation plan;
- evaluating the validation pilots;
- producing and publishing a validation report;
- creating an appropriate verification plan;
- supporting verification activity, producing a validation completion certificate and publishing it, together with other validation documentation, in the FCN Validation Library;
- producing and publishing the resulting standard operating procedure;
- undertaking a training needs analysis; producing a training methodology; commissioning training courses / inputs and producing a competence assessment methodology;
- providing accreditation support.