Law enforcement agencies struggle to get to grips with digital intelligence

Policeman smartphone

Law enforcement agencies have a growing reliance on digital intelligence with some 90 percent of cases now involving some form of digital device or cloud service.

A new report from digital intelligence solutions specialist Cellebrite collected date from over 2,000 law enforcement agency personnel, in over 110 countries to compile a report benchmarking the sector's day-to-day challenges.


The survey reveals that over 70 percent of officers are still asking witnesses and victims to surrender their devices so evidence can be extracted at the station or in a lab. However, most people don't want to have their primary communication device taken away for an indefinite period. To combat this issue, 67 percent of agency managers that mobility technology is important or very important to the agency's long-term digital evidence strategy and 72 percent of investigators believe it is important to conduct in-the-field extractions of this data.

"We are seeing an increasing trend with law enforcement, who are now leveraging digital evidence to expedite case conclusions," says Yossi Carmil, Co-CEO of Cellebrite. "Agency managers are focused on transforming their organizations by implementing Digital Intelligence solutions. There is a need to empower frontline responders in the field to access information that is critical to reduce time to evidence."

As a new generation of tech-savvy frontline officers begins to use technology at crime scenes, a new level of investigative effectiveness is becoming possible. Most agency managers believe police forces that embrace mobile tech to collect digital evidence in the field will and be significantly more prepared to meet the digital evidence challenges of 2020.

Currently each case has on average two to four mobile devices that need to be examined, while 45 percent of cases will also involve a computer examination. This means specialist examiners typically conduct 26 mobile device examinations monthly, translating to 300+ annually per agency. Smartphones continue to top the list of most frequent evidence sources, but the variety of digital sources used in investigations is increasing. Sources such as CCTV, wearables, smart home technology, IoT devices, drones, cars and even gaming systems, are being used by criminals more frequently to mask illegal activity.

You can read more in the full report available from the Cellebrite site.

Image credit: IgorVetushko/

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