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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2019

Dana Wilson-Kovacs

Building on the findings of a British Academy-funded project on the development of digital forensics (DF) in England and Wales, the purpose of this paper is to explore how…

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the findings of a British Academy-funded project on the development of digital forensics (DF) in England and Wales, the purpose of this paper is to explore how triage, a process that helps prioritise digital devices for in-depth forensic analysis, is experienced by DF examiners and police officers in four English police forces. It is argued that while as a strategy triage can address the increasing demand in the examination of digital exhibits, careful consideration needs to be paid to the ways in which its set-up, undertaking and outcomes impact on the ability of law enforcement agencies to solve cases.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodological approach adopted here builds on the ethnographic turn in criminology. The analysis draws on 120 h of ethnographic observations and 43 semi-structured interviews. Observational data of the working DF environment at each location and a systematic evaluation of internal documents, organisational settings and police priorities helped refine emergent analysis threads, which were analytically compared between sites and against the testimonies of members of different occupational groups to identify similarities and differences between accounts.

Findings

The findings emphasise the challenges in the triage of digital exhibits as they are encountered in everyday practice. The discussion focusses on the tensions between the delivery of timely and accurate investigation results and current gaps in the infrastructural arrangements. It also emphasises the need to provide police officers with a baseline understanding of the role of DF and the importance of clearly defined strategies in the examination of digital devices.

Originality/value

This paper aims to bridge policy and practice through an analysis of the ways in which DF practitioners and police officers in four English constabularies reflect on the uses of triage in DF to address backlogs and investigative demands. Highlighting the importance of digital awareness beyond the technical remit of DF units, it offers new insights into the ways in which police forces seek to improve the evidential trail with limited resources.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2021

Dana Wilson-Kovacs

In-depth knowledge about specific national approaches to using digital evidence in investigations is scarce. A clearer insight into the organisational barriers and…

Abstract

Purpose

In-depth knowledge about specific national approaches to using digital evidence in investigations is scarce. A clearer insight into the organisational barriers and professional challenges experienced, alongside a more detailed picture of how digital evidence can help police investigations are required to empirically substantiate claims about how digital technologies are changing the face of criminal investigations. The paper aims to focus on the introduction of digital media investigators to support investigating officers with the collection and interpretation of digital evidence.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on ethnographic and interview data collected as part of an Economic and Social Research Council-funded project on the application of digital forensics expertise in policing in England and Wales, this paper examines the changing face of investigations in relation to escalating digital demand.

Findings

The analysis presents the national and regional organisational parameters of deploying digital expertise in criminal investigation and examines some of the challenges of being a digital media investigator (DMI). Through testimonies from DMIs, digital forensic practitioners, investigating and senior officers and forensic managers, the analysis explores the organisational tensions in the collection, processing, interpretation and use of information from digital devices for evidential purposes.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers an empirical basis for the comparative study of how the DMI role has been implemented by law enforcement agencies and its fit within broader institutional considerations and processes.

Practical implications

The development of the DMI role has raised questions about the supply of digital expertise, especially to volume crime investigations, and tensions around occupational divisions between scientific and operational units.

Social implications

The findings show that while the introduction of the DMI role was much needed, the development of this valuable provision within each force and the resources available require sustained and coordinated support to protect these professionals and retain their skills.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the growing sociological and criminological literature with an ethnographically based perspective into the organisational and occupational tensions in the identification and processing of digital evidence in England and Wales.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Dana M. Wilson‐Kovacs, Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam

Not enough is known about the challenges faced by women professionals who possess the credentials, skills and knowledge that would allow them to be considered, alongside…

Abstract

Purpose

Not enough is known about the challenges faced by women professionals who possess the credentials, skills and knowledge that would allow them to be considered, alongside their male counterparts, for top‐rank positions. While, statistically, figures show an increase in women's representation in the Science, Engineering and Technology domain, academic research is yet to explore in greater depth both the reasons for women's continuing under‐representation at senior levels and their work experiences. This paper sets out to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the concept of the glass cliff, which seeks to explain what happens to women as they advance to senior positions. The analysis is based on qualitative research on women managers in the SET domain in the UK. Using career mapping and in‐depth ethnographic interviews, it discusses two case studies of senior women based at a leading multinational IT company with a range of supportive diversity schemes.

Findings

The investigation illustrates some of the opportunities offered, barriers raised and ways in which those interviewed sought to overcome them.

Practical implications

While specific in its focus, the study demonstrates the importance of understanding how women make sense of their careers and use organisational initiatives. The article also highlights the need to inspect the effectiveness of such programmes in particular work‐settings in order to identify best practices, and to draw effective equal opportunities policies.

Originality/value

The article presents further evidence to support the idea that women's representation at top‐ranking levels is fraught with difficulties and calls for fine‐tuning of both policy design and implementation and academic research.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Pooran Wynarczyk

Abstract

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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