The Investigator Workshop

On the 7th December 2017 I will be presenting a workshop on Images and Video use within investigations.

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The Image above is a link to the full flyer….

The Investigator magazine regularly run workshops on many techniques and services. I am very much looking forward to demystifying some of the technicalities of CCTV, Video and Images.

It is primarily based at those people making the decisions, but open to all frontline investigators who will benefit from having an increased knowledge of what is, and what is not, possible within the world of visual multimedia.

For more information,

+44 (0)844 660 8707 or email

info@the-investigator.co.uk

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By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

UK LEVA Courses 2018

It’s been a busy summer after the success earlier this year of the LEVA Level 1 and 2 Courses hosted in Manchester.

As a result, the 2018 UK schedule has just been confirmed and if more get added due to increased demand, I will update this page.

 

All details can be found on the LEVA site but a UK summary is below:

Level 1

9th – 13th April 2018

Nottingham Trent University

LEVA Link

Level 2

4th – 8th June 2018

Nottingham Trent University

LEVA Link

Level 3

16th – 20th April 2018

Sedgley Park, GMP

LEVA Link

Level 4

16th – 20th July 2018 & 23rd – 27th July 2018

Sedgley Park, GMP

LEVA Link

If you passed the Level 1 and 2 courses this year, and wish to further your knowledge and / or advance towards Forensic Video Analyst Certification, then Levels 3 and 4 are a must! Basically, if you are working in a Central CCTV or Imaging Unit then these should be a priority.

For those people who are yet to board the LEVA train, don’t get left behind. Get registered for Levels 1 and 2 before they fill up.

These courses are also ideal for those utilizing CCTV and Video for other forensic disciplines such as collision investigation and gait analysis.

This is the training that shows you why things are done, not just how.

I look forward to seeing you all next year…

Spready

CFVA

CFVA_web

 

By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

Forensic

Its been a busy few weeks!

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At the beginning of April, I was over in Canada with the Ontario Forensic Video Analysts Association. Many regular readers will know that this has become an annual visit for me, and it is always an honor to be invited back. During this event I presented several workshops built around the events theme of ‘Workflow’.

A few weeks later I was in Sweden, presenting workshops on Forensic Video Analysis and Amped FIVE. This was a different type type of event, with staff from all forms of digital investigation; cellphones, computers, networks and multimedia.

In Canada it was purely video analysts, technicians and investigators.

What links the two, is that both regions have identified the importance of video investigation and its place within their policing communities. It is firmly positioned within the forensic world and given the funding to enable training and equipment.

Next week, I will be with Amped Software at Forensic Europe Expo, Olympia, London.

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I will be presenting more workshops, one on Amped FIVE and another on Amped Authenticate.

Authenticate has become the essential software for identifying manipulation in digital images so i’m really looking forward to highlight some of its unique abilities.

There is one word that continues to appear through all of these events and software….

FORENSIC

Meaning: “Relates to, or identifies, the application of scientific methods and/or techniques used in the investigation of crime”.

It is vital that we, as image / video analysts keep this in mind. For most, and most readers of this blog, it’s pretty much an unconscious action. However, there are many people who deal with images and video that are not aware of its importance, and continue to handle, process, view and produce multimedia in a manner that does not fall within forensic guidelines. Some people are even developing procedures that assist in this approach, thereby putting users at risk.

Its up to us then to help and educate these people. We must explain why video needs to be dealt with forensically. From Acquisition to court room, and in a manner that holds no prejudice or bias, regardless of who is conducting the work.

If you are visiting FEE next week, I look forward to chatting with you, and showing how Amped software ensures that you can meet the forensic requirement of image and video analysis, without the headaches.

By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

For UK Law Enforcement Video Labs…Time is not on your side!

In the next few weeks, the various sections of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 will come into force in the UK.

One of those sections has been hotly debated, and reported on, by all sides of the Criminal Justice system.

There will now be a 28-day limit to the amount of time a person can be bailed pending charge. There are certain extension possibilities, but these must be heavily scrutinized and justified by senior officers.

Although designed to stop lengthy periods of pre-charge bail, from a Forensic Video Analysis point of view, I have some concerns…

There are already huge pressures on Detectives and Investigating Officers to get though their ballooning workloads. This limit will only increase the pressure.

With video and images, they must be dealt with correctly. Conducting any process quickly, must be completed by someone with the required competency.

Let me give you an example….

An officer attends at a premise to view and assess the CCTV in relation to an offence. They have minimal knowledge and training on the multimedia evidence so two things usually happen..

  • They record the footage, as its displayed on the CCTV monitor, on their personal mobile phone or agency supplied tablet or Bodycam.
  • They ask the owner of the CCTV to export them the footage.

The officer then does their best to view the footage on police systems and perhaps obtains some still images using some screen snipping tool or a player’s built-in saving function.

From there, that evidence; the video and the stills, go into evidence and the case proceeds….

Is the evidence correct?

Is it the original evidence?

Has it been processed correctly?

Has it been interpreted correctly?

Have the wrong decisions been made because of errors in interpretation?

 

You may think this is an exaggeration!..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-31098086

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-38371769

…and on that second one, Judge Rafferty stated, “there must never be another case in this country where those analyzing CCTV don’t have the best equipment.”

I have other examples, but you should get the picture (no pun intended)!

The point to all this is that, in order to quickly obtain and deal with the evidence, corners are being cut.

Time is no longer on an investigating officers side. Being forced into making quick decisions could be detrimental to the innocent, and provide an easy escape to the guilty.

Police Forces in the UK need to identify solutions to speed up the process of initial investigation, the correct decision making and the professional output of CCTV material.

…and all of this needs to be aligned with the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) and best practices for the analysis of CCTV and Digital Multimedia Evidence.

I was a huge advocate of many different pieces of software and analysis tools whilst a CCTV Investigator within UK Policing. Over the years I have written about many of them here on my blog.

Some would take time to learn and understand the various issues. Then, using them to extract, convert, analyse, interpret and present the visual evidence would take time to validate each process and ensure image integrity throughout the chain.

 

It’s clear, with the reduction in competent staff, that Forces are not seeing the ticking ‘time’ bomb.

Lack of directed training for first responders and detectives, lack of resources for investigators, lack of knowledge by ‘managers’ who believe, “it’s just a video!”. There are actually ‘managers’ who believe that an expertise in video is pointless!

I no longer use 5-10 different pieces of software during my investigations. I have not got the time.

I need to use as little as possible. I need to know that I can rely on what I am seeing. I can trust what I am presenting, and I can repeat my process if required.

Amped FIVE has quickly become the one-stop-shop for Forensic Video Analysis. It gives me the confidence to quickly make the right decisions. Even when negative, I can still state, quickly, that a request is not possible or that the data is not there. No time wasted, no need to continue down this path…. No need to extend bail!

Get it, deal with it, output, report….. quick, simple, powerful, and with all the reporting features you will need to comply with FSR guidance, regardless of what ISO standard they eventually settle on.

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When I’m in the UK, I run FREE Demo Days for UK Law enforcement up and down the country. If you want to see how FIVE can help you beat that 28 day limit then just drop me a message at my Amped mail:  david.spreadborough (a) ampedsoftware.com.

Decode, view, analyze, restore, enhance, write and present….You can even capture, redact & convert…… all from the same application.

If you want to learn more, just ask!

By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

LEVA Training in the UK

Proving a competency starts with training. It’s not all about the training…but that’s where it starts!

Many people will have followed my adventures over the years, travelling all the way over to Indianapolis to receive training in Forensic Video Analysis courtesy of LEVA. I still remember my excitement at receiving my scholarship to attend Level 1, my arrival at the fantastic city, and the warmth afforded to me from my American colleagues.

I shall also not forget the numerous ‘Holy Shit’ moments!

Prior to receiving the training I had learned most things from books, internet research and the old faithful –  trial and error! This however, took me back to basics. Most importantly though I learnt that that not knowing something was not a problem with me – It was just that I never knew that I needed to know it.

That point has stuck with me, and I mention it whilst training officers and staff myself in the Amped Software Forensic Image products. “You don’t know, what you don’t know!”

After many years of training and study (many paid personally by me), I was a very proud guy when I was certified as a Forensic Video Analyst by LEVA.

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It has taken many years of work to get LEVA to the UK …..but they are now going through the final stages of preparations to conduct Level 1 and Level 2 in Greater Manchester Police.

There are still places left!

I know it’s coming up to the end of the financial year but, is there any money left in the pot? I know things are tight and money for training is unbelievably limited, but it’s worth asking the question!

One of the key benefits of LEVA training is its consideration to the importance of workflow. They don’t just say, “this is how you should acquire the footage”, but this is why.. and when you have it, this is what you can do with it, and this is how, and this is how to document the process……

Getting it, processing it, viewing it, analysing it, interpreting it, enhancing it, presenting it…..You get the picture!!!

It’s one of the reasons why I chose to use Amped FIVE, and then work with Amped. I had learnt that dealing with images and video required a sound forensic platform, and Amped provided that.

The First course (Level 1) is 20th – 24th March 2017

The second (Level 2) is 15th-19th May 2017

I’ll be at both, assisting my friends from across the pond with translation!

If you want to know more click here, or for more informal discussions, drop me a mail to david.spreadborough (a) ampedsoftware.com

Getting on the training ladder is now so important. If you can get on it now, then you will be more prepared for the future.

By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP