The rare readers of my previous blogs will be aware of my involvement with the Hampshire Constabulary CSCV team. This is a team of Special Constables and Police Support Volunteers with digital and cyber skills who give up their time to assist the police with digital investigations and offer advice to the public. We supply the IT knowhow and cyber skills that investigators may not possess.
Recently, I was one of two volunteers invited to represent the team at the 2018 International Digital Investigation and Intelligence Awards. Our team was one of three nominated in the category for Exceptional Voluntary Contribution to Digital Capability. Although not the eventual winners, as the first team of its kind in the country, we were honoured to have been named finalists and to receive our Highly Commended award, which we will display proudly at our headquarters.
The awards were held at a hotel near Heathrow and acted as the closing event of the annual International Communications Data and Digital Forensics conference. The stories behind each of the nominated finalists in each category were read out, and it was interesting to hear the achievements of investigators from across all areas of law enforcement. In these days of ubiquitous always-on internet and smartphone access, it is evermore necessary to analyse digital evidence when trying to track down suspects or obtain convictions.
Amongst those awarded at the event were investigators, both civilian and police officers, who had used their digital skills to convict all types of offenders of all types. These ranged from serious road traffic incidents to predatory paedophiles, and multi-million pound smuggling operations to prolific sex offenders.
The common thread through all of these operations was the use of digital technology to protect the public from those who would do them harm, and I am more than happy to have played my own small part.