Description of Innovation

The aim of the EXECUTIVE action is to upgrade the services provided by the Digital Evidence Examination Department, through the development of the existing infrastructure and the skills of the staff, to the requesting authorities such as: • the Police, Coast Guard and Fire Brigade, • the competent Prosecution Authorities, • to the Independent Public Revenue Authority, • to the Transparency Authority, • to the Competition Commission, • to the Accident Investigation and Flight Safety Commission, etc. Digital proofs such as e.g. Mobile phones are now an integral part or even a means of committing illegal acts. Through special software that incorporates artificial intelligence capabilities, in which thousands of image files are stored and used internationally by various cutting-edge services, the evidence in the form of image or text that can be examined can be very quickly characterized based on their content. Thus, weapons, persons, drugs can be identified that are depicted in a piece of evidence, resulting in a quick response to the questions posed by the Investigating Authorities and consequently reducing the examination time. The result of these is the ability to respond to difficult and demanding problems, the extraction of safe, effective and reliable results with the main concern of providing assistance to the aforementioned Authorities for the prevention of crime, as well as the administration of justice. It is noted that the final recipients, who are none other than the citizens of Greece but also of the other Member States, will enjoy a safer physical and digital environment.

Reasons for Innovation

Traditionally, the evidence establishing the guilt or innocence of an accused were in physical form such as documents or photographs or the testimony of witnesses. Electronic evidence is now crucial to clarifying a case, as they are the indisputable silent witnesses. The rapid development of digital devices leads the field of digital forensics to a continuous review and upgrade of techniques and procedures used by experts in digital data management. On this basis, the continuous development, lifelong learning and upgrading of laboratory equipment is the only way to respond immediately to the ever-increasing needs, both in volume and in technical difficulty, with the main concern being the rapid production of quality results.

Objectives of Innovation

The initial objectives of the innovation are to reduce the time of examination of digital evidence, to extract more findings for which no traceability was possible, to increase the coverage of the storage media that can be examined, as well as the adoption of new laboratory examination methodologies by the staff of the Department. The project was designed to meet the current demands that have emerged from the digital transformation of society, which is taking place at a rapid pace. Based on the above, the Digital Evidence Examination Department, after its modernization, will be able to meet today's requirements and contribute to the prevention and suppression of crime, through the rapid response and production of quality results with information capable of assisting the Prosecution, Investigative, Pre-Investigative or Independent Authorities to fulfill their role.

Innovation results

With the use of the new equipment, the number of outgoing cases increased by 20% on a monthly basis. Also, the coverage of the findings found in a digital evidence has been extended by 20% This helps in identifying the suspects as well as in documenting the guilt / innocence of the accused.

Design stage

The conception of the idea came from the Department of Examination of Digital Evidence, which recorded the existing needs. The proposal for the inclusion of the action in the HERCULES III financial framework of the European Anti-Corruption Bureau was written in collaboration with the European and Development Programs Management Agency. This financial framework approves proposals through grading in an open tender procedure. The design provided for the acquisition of the necessary software, which was for commercial use, ie it did not require special redesign and could be put to use immediately. After acquiring the software, the examiners' training followed, which concerned the learning of new examination techniques as well as the communication of the findings that exist in various types of digital evidence, so that the examiner is able to identify and retrieve them.

Implementation stageThe implementation of the action did not bring about changes in the organization or in the procedures of examination of digital evidence. However, through the strengthening of the infrastructure of the Department, it was possible to place more staff, which happened with the acquisition of the equipment.

Collaborations

During the design phase, cooperation was carried out with a Service responsible for managing European Programs. The co-operation concerned the guidance and advice in drafting the action proposal in order to make it attractive and to adapt it to the conditions set by European Agencies for its financing.

Financing and costs

The project budget was 80% funded by European funds. The action was implemented with staff of the Department. In particular, a total of 9 people were employed in various stages of the action. Additional people from other Services were involved in the monitoring of the project, in the conduct of tenders for the supply of items as well as in the communication with the European Agency that financed the action. In order to ensure the viability of the action, 3 executives of the Department are employed at a rate of 20% of their daily employment in order to ensure the proper operation of the logistical equipment as well as its maintenance at regular intervals.

Challenges and solutions during design, testing and implementation

No problems have been encountered during the implementation of the innovation.

Assessment - description of the necessary conditions for the success and sustainability of innovation

Meeting the goals of innovation design and real needs in the field of digital criminology, combined with the existing organizational system, ongoing program support, ongoing staff training and the provision of excellent know-how will be the necessary conditions for success and sustainability of innovation.

Experiences, thoughts, findings

The implementation of the action highlighted the importance of prioritizing needs in order to make the best use of available resources. From the point of view of the coordination of the action, the importance of the communication of the parties involved in the implementation of the action became obvious. In addition, experience in writing a co-financing proposal from European Resources is a key factor in its success. On the part of the beneficiaries, the upgrade of the equipment and the training gave them impetus and motivation for a better, faster and more efficient examination of the cases at a time when the lack of resources was evident in the Public Sector. The recipients of the expertise, immediately realized the benefits of such an upgrade, since the results that are exported are more immediate, targeted and comprehensive.

Agency: Department of Digital Evidence Examination / Directorate of Criminological Investigations / Hellenic Police

Level of government: National

Policy area: Public order and security

Year: 2019

Type of Innovation: Design and service delivery, Social Innovation

Innovation Stage: Implementation

Beneficiaries: General population, Civil Servants

Number of beneficiaries: All citizens of the country, hundreds of public officials inside and outside the Greek territory

Sources of Funding: NSRF or other European funds

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