The Crown Prosecution Service is the principal agency in England and Wales responsible for ensuring the right people are prosecuted and brought to justice for criminal offences. In 2017/18, the CPS experienced an 84% conviction rate on more than 530,000 cases, with each requiring a strong foundation of casework and evidence.
Time to transfer: Updating the evidence sharing process
When investigating a reported crime, the police service(s) involved will collect evidence from the scene, including multimedia files, such as CCTV and mobile phone videos. Over recent years, this process has become highly digitised.
Traditionally, the transfer of this highly sensitive digital data from the police to the CPS has relied on CD / DVD discs that are couriered or hand-delivered by police officers.
Mark Gray, Director of Digital Transformation at the CPS, explains: “At the height of using CDs / DVDs to transfer evidence, the CPS was handling over 500,000 discs. Not only was this highly inefficient, it also put personal data at a higher risk of loss – as it was difficult to track all the information we held and physical transfers always entail a level of risk.
Beginning the journey to digital transformation
In September 2016, the CPS began work to resolve the data protection and efficiency issues.
Neil Riley, Head of Cross-CJS Projects at the CPS, says: “We had specific security requirement to protect highly sensitive data, but we also needed to ensure the solution we chose would be easy for staff and partners to use, and could cope with the large volume of data our casework relies on.”
Having undergone a thorough product evaluation, CPS selected Secure Workspace, a collaboration and file sharing solution provided by UK-based data security firm Egress and procured the solution through G-Cloud.
Enhancing justice delivery
Moving away from CDs / DVDs was a major process change for the CPS and its partners, however significant security and efficiency improvements have proven it was the right choice to make.
“Since we started using Secure Workspace, we’ve seen approximately 1TB of data per day being uploaded into the platform,” states Gray. “It almost goes without saying that the electronic transfer of this data is far more efficient than when it was delivered on discs.”
“There are other knock-on benefits that aren’t so visible. For example, when the CPS shares sensitive videos with defence lawyers, we have to ensure they will handle this data correctly. Previously, this was managed by posting them an undertaking declaration to sign and return; a process that could take days or weeks to complete. Now, this is managed digitally within Secure Workspace, which simplifies the process for our staff and means the defence can access files immediately. This has transformed the speed with which evidence can be served and therefore enhanced the way justice is delivered in England and Wales.”
Egress takes a people-centric approach to data security – helping users receive, manage and share sensitive data securely to meet compliance requirements and drive business productivity. Using machine learning, Egress ensures information is protected relative to the risk of a data breach and reduces user friction to ensure smooth adoption.
Trusted by enterprise organisations and governments around the globe, Egress’ award-winning platform provides email encryption, secure file transfer and online collaboration services, as well as risk management, accidental send prevention, and compliance auditing and reporting.
Egress is headquartered in London, with regional offices in the UK, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
This case study was contributed as part of techUK’s Digitally enabled public safety report: Harnessing the power of tech to tackle violent crime. You can access the full report here.