West Midlands Police deploys Exterro’s Cloud-based Digital Forensics Platform
The provider of Legal GRC software, Exterro Inc. announced that the West Midlands Police are the first force to deploy its cloud-based digital forensics platform based on the FTK Central platform housed on Microsoft Azure. This is a pioneering project that has paved the way for a national digital forensics service, enabling cases to be worked on remotely, officers to collaborate and cases to be
Exterro has worked with Microsoft to develop a leading-edge cloud-based digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) solution. This sees Exterro’s FTK Central platform housed in Microsoft Azure, enabling the collection, processing and review of extremely large volumes of data at speed, whilst also centralising access and thereby allowing officers and investigators to work collaboratively.
“Exterro’s FTK has massively reduced processing times and improved forensic readiness with processes that previously took days to complete now almost instantaneous. We anticipate that we will see continued improvements over the coming months, including vastly reduced data backlogs, minimised detention times for suspects and expedite cases, resulting in faster speed to justice which will see the innocent released, the guilty convicted, and a sense of closure for victims and their families. This is going to be game changing for our force and all those that follow”, said John Price, Detective Sergeant, West Midlands Police.
West Midlands Police (WMP), one of the largest forces in the country with 52 police stations and 6,846 officers responsible for 2.93 million civilians are the first force to deploy the solution. This has enabled digital forensic investigators and its officers on the ground to work on evidential data simultaneously without the need to be physically in the Digital Forensics Units (DFU). The secure upload of sensitive forensic data into the cloud marks a huge breakthrough and has proven the viability of the solution, effectively paving the way for the creation of a cohesive national forensics ecosystem, as envisaged by the Digital Forensic Science Strategy.
Exterro’s FTK Central solution allows WMP’s officers to process and validate large amounts of different data quickly, and at scale. It offers processing ten times faster than that of other solutions as well as innovative forensic and legal review workflows delivered via a single collaborative, web-based tool that gives users a real-time view into their assigned cases. As the solution requires minimal training, this has enabled WMP’s front line officers to work with forensic reviewers, examiners, and investigators to collect, process, and review key case-evidence.
Harsh Behl, Director of Product Management, Exterro, commented, “The WMP project has demonstrated the speed, scalability and flexibility afforded by a cloud-based DFIR platform and we are confident that this project will provide other police forces with a blueprint on how to move from a hardware based evidential process to one located in the cloud. The success of this deployment may well determine the future of digital forensics and see processes for police forces and digital investigators change dramatically.”
Using FTK Central has enabled WMP to benefit from a number of features, including offline language translation support for cross-border investigations, AI-powered Video Recognition and Explicit Image Detection which supports CAID and Project Vic, a comprehensive unified missing/exploited children database. Now, action can be taken sooner to safeguard children. The Explicit Image Detection feature also provides a mental health shield for investigators by guarding against unnecessary exposure to graphic material during forensic review.
Kirk Arthur, Director, Business Development, Worldwide Public Safety & Justice at Microsoft commented - “Microsoft is proud to partner with Exterro and the West Midlands Police in helping to address the growing forensics backlogs that plague law enforcement agencies across the globe. Through this public-private-collaboration, Exterro and WMP benefit from our Microsoft Azure cloud platform to deliver frontline capabilities that will dramatically reduce investigative turnaround times. As technology advances, so does the volume of data that must be captured and processed - law enforcement agencies can benefit from the advanced capabilities Exterro’s FTK Central platform provides to meet mission requirements.”
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