Detective Sergeant James Milligan, a laboratory manager for Merseyside Police, recognized his department was facing the same issue as every digital forensic lab in the world; his budget is finite. With this finite amount of money, the laboratory must remain operational. Amounts must be allocated for personnel, training, infrastructure, and forensic tools. Having the infrastructure in place, the digitals tools necessary, and the appropriately trained staff ensures a laboratory is ready and able to complete cases.
Adding to the challenges faced today is the perpetual evolution of digital artifacts and the tools used for acquisition and analysis. A decade ago, there were far fewer challenges. Encryption, mobile devices, larger quantities of data, multiple devices for each exam, and various new operating system artifacts all combine to make digital examinations more complex. At the same time, laboratories face contiguous pressure to produce results at the same rate or even faster than before.
Digital examination tools have also evolved. The price of individual tools increased as the variety of available tools multiplied. Looking back ten years ago, all UK Law Enforcement Agencies were basically using only two main tools. Today, laboratory managers have a much broader choice and must find the tools that can produce results accurately and efficiently. Historically, year after year greater portions of the budget are spent on tools. Tools that are more advanced, tools that contend with a broader range of devices, tools that cost more money. Each time money is spent purchasing a tool, the benefits of that investment must be weighed against the overall cost.
Detective Sergeant James Milligan began a cost-benefit analysis to determine which forensic tools were capable of handling the work performed in the Merseyside Laboratory. He was looking for a way to move away from their current ‘artifact based’ forensic tool. First, a profile of the cases being submitted to the laboratory was created. The cost of the tools able to handle these cases was considered as well as whether the tools enabled examiners to work accurately and efficiently.
Merseyside Police then implemented a thorough process of testing and benchmarking the available options while exploring all the impacts a change in toolset would have on laboratory operation. The tools that became clear options were further tested and compared to the current toolset. Surprisingly the new toolset outperformed the incumbent in certain areas, particularly when it came to stability. The impacts of changing to the new toolset were found to be minimal.
The results were clear, for the cost of the incumbent tool, Merseyside Police was able to fully equip their laboratory with X-Ways and BlackLight, enroll all examiners in training courses, and save $25,000 over a five-year period. Without training, $45,000 would be saved.
The results of Merseyside’s review prompted other organization to try BlackLight and preform a review of their own tools and practices.
If you are interested in trialing BlackLight, or would like some further information please contact Tom at BlackBag (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you’d like assistance in carrying out a review or evaluation of your own forensic tools, please contact Avatu on 01296 621121 or email@example.com for help or advice.
BlackLight enables examiners to work accurately and efficiently while achieving cost-savings
BlackLight provides analysis capabilities to handle current cases while saving money
Merseyside Police purchased BlackLight as part of their new digital toolset for an overall cost savings
Merseyside Police, through a process of testing and benchmarking, discovered that BlackLight outperformed the incumbent in cost as well as stability