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Met Police seeks MSPs as digital forensic investigations move closer to the frontline

Metropolitan Police Force wants to make it easier for frontline staff to embark on forensic investigations involving digital devices with the help of MSPs

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) is on the hunt for managed service providers to support a wider push by the Metropolitan Police to increase the efficiency of its digital forensic investigations.

The successful providers will play a central role in helping the Metropolitan Police overhaul how it undertakes forensic investigations involving electronic devices and media, so more of the work can be undertaken by frontline staff rather than in a centralised, lab-based environment.

The force has already begun rolling out self-service kiosks to frontline staff and hopes to have one in place for each London borough to use by March 2016.

The organisation has 15 pre-existing contracts in place with managed service providers to help use them, but these are due to expire in April and July 2016.

Therefore, it has published a tender seeking replacements, which states the providers will need to be in place by July 2016, with the contract due to run until June 2023.

Computer Weekly contacted the Metropolitan Police for further details about the value of the contract, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

“The contract will include the full management and provision of support services (logistics, management, maintenance, advice and support for the services) to ensure the successful delivery of the core services,” the tender notice states.

Increasing investigative efficiency

The aim of all this is to increase the “investigative flexibility and agility” of frontline police officers, while helping the service to achieve its goals of cutting crime and reducing costs, while increasing the public’s confidence in the force, the Metropolitan Police said in a supporting document.

“The key objective is to enable frontline officers faster and easier access to digital information to improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of resources through better use of tools and technology,” it stated.

Partnering with a private sector managed service provider should help the organisation keep abreast of the growing number and type of digital devices requiring forensic examination, while ensuring it has the capacity to cope with large-scale or national investigations.

As an example of this, the document cites cases of child sexual exploitation and the News of the World phone-hacking investigation that result in devices being seized. The Metropolitan Police has given those interested in responding to the tender until 16 September to do so.

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