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CYBER Continued from Page 43


are all sorts of difficulties and dangers if you move to exclusive reporting in the sense that you’re potentially disenfranchising certain sectors of the community with the level of digital exclusion that there still is across the coun- try. We’re mindful of that when we’re developing all that work so I don’t think it will necessarily be a shift, it will be a broadening of the offer.” Te force is also looking into


being part of a UK-wide reporting channel for cyber-crime specifi- cally; there are still way too many crimes that are not reported to police at all. Figures from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) indicate that one in five adults have been the victim of one or more types of cyber fraud and computer misuse in the year 2018/19, with one in 20 having been victims of more than one type. However, the majority of victims confirmed that they did not report the incidents to the po- lice. Tis was particularly true in the case of scam phone calls and viruses, with 84 and 79 per cent of victims respectively not report- ing such incidents to anyone. Graham says: “We want to be


able to capture that through some sort of single route and we’re part of a piece of work at UK level to see if we can be part of a structure of single reporting that recognises that geographical boundaries are not always clear to people. And therefore, we want something that is as easily accessible and relevant to people who might be part of the UK as much as part of Scotland. Tat probably links across cybercrime and fraud, which is not the same thing, but they overlap in the middle.”


There have been several developments in the last 12 to 18 months that have seen the force make great strides forward, in terms of its overall digitisation. Although body-worn cameras have not been deployed as they have in other forces south of the Border, Police Scotland has prioritised the issuing of Sam- sung Galaxy 9 notebooks – with a Motorola-led interface – to every


Digital devices have had a “phenomenal impact” on frontline policing


frontline officer. Te devices have had a “phenomenal impact” on policing, says Graham, and recognition of hand-written notes has improved from 80 per cent on earlier devices to 99.8 per cent. Te force is in the process of roll- ing the notebooks out to specialist officers for major crime inquiries. Even though the cyber strategy


is still to be implemented, the force recently unveiled plans to establish a national cyber centre of excellence – staffed by 150 specially-trained officers – as part of an operational and training commitment to tackle offences such as child sexual abuse, fraud, and the sharing of indecent im- ages. Graham also talks about the


rollout of new digital triage equipment, so-called ‘kiosks’ which have been introduced. Te Cellebrite software system, in- stalled on laptops, allows officers to plug in smartphones and scan them for digital material relevant to an inquiry. Tey were heavily scrutinised last year in parlia-


44 | FUTURESCOT | WINTER 2020/21


ment, amidst what Graham says was “legitimate” concern from privacy groups, but he insists that the triage process is “standalone” and that the data is not net- worked into other police systems. He says: “A decision is made either to retain it so it can go for a full forensic examination or we don’t and we give it back. And people can get everything that they need back at the time, which again is a legitimate concern of people. If you take somebody’s phone off them that’s got a big impact on people’s lives these days and we appreciate that.”


Like most public sector organisations, Police Scotland is not immune to IT project failures. Te force’s modernisation plans were seriously hampered in 2016 when the i6 computer system project with Accenture collapsed. Plans to replace 130 electronic and paper-based systems – cover- ing 80 per cent of police processes – were shelved, leading auditors to conclude that: “Police officers


and staff continue to struggle with out-of-date, inefficient and poorly integrated systems.” Graham admits there have been


tech “wrinkles” along the way since eight regional forces were merged into one in 2013 and i6 came at a time when the force wasn’t ready to “land the ben- efits” of the system. Instability at the oversight body – the SPA – has not helped in terms of governance and keeping transformation plans in line with public expectations of a modern police service. But the Digital, Data and ICT (DDICT) Strategy in 2018 – and now the cyber strategy – has at least set out a clear path towards how information technology is going to be used to support its agenda. “It feels to us that we’ve just


reached a stage where we can really start to capitalise operation- ally on the benefits,” says Gra- ham. “It’s probably taken us a bit longer than we thought it would, but it allows us a foundation to build on that we could never have dreamed of in the past.” l


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