Northamptonshire Police is wheeling out a new state-of-the-art digital forensic vehicle to help reduce the impact of evidence gathering from rape and serious sexual assault victims.
The ‘Digivan’ will allow forensic teams to examine mobile phones without the need to take away devices.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said it means victims will no longer lose an important lifeline after such a traumatic event.
He added: “Not having your phone in normal circumstances can be difficult enough but at a time of trauma it’s even more distressing.
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“The Digivan means we can now travel to the victim and then do a rapid mobile examination on site without having to take their phone away for analysis. This means minimal disruption to the victim and offers a much more sensitive approach.”
“It will increase the speed with which we can gather and analyse evidence and provide a much better service for victims of rape and serious sexual assault.”
The Digivan allows forensic teams to examine digital devices at a variety of crime scenes, giving investigators faster access to the right evidence.
It also allows victims and witnesses to share only data relevant to the case while keeping all other information private.
Detective Inspector Gary Collins, of the force’s Digital Forensic Unit, said: “This means we can take technology to wherever we need it and considerably reduce investigation time.
“For example, if we are searching a suspect’s home where several people live, there are likely to be multiple devices which could easily run into double figures.
“If we took them all away from the scene it could potentially mean months of investigation, spending time examining devices that contain no evidence at all.
“Having the Digivan means we can do an initial examination at the scene and rapidly determine which devices need further analysis.”
■ Northamptonshire Police urges anyone who has been the victim of rape or sexual assault to report it by contacting them HERE or by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.
If you’re not ready to talk to the police, Northamptonshire Voice is one of a number of places to get support and advice in confidence.