COURT EXHIBITS AND EVIDENCE
Court exhibits and evidence are indispensable elements of day-to-day police investigations. They are important for the overall processing of a case, and are documented, classified, analysed and managed. The more complex and extensive an investigation is, the more laborious are the management and evaluation of trace evidence and items requiring safe custody. Thoroughness is the top priority here, since the numbers of court exhibits and items of evidence often continue to increase over the years up to closure of a case. This absolute thoroughness is mandatory in the context of future innovations such as the “virtual crime scene”.
Secure management of court exhibits in the 21st century
Handwritten records of court exhibits and a plethora of different analysis requests in the form of paper forms are regrettably the rule rather than the exception nowadays in many police departments. rsEvid digitises and standardises the management of court exhibits, and also the formats of all documents and the work processes. This simplifies and speeds up the processing, since the responsible staff are faced daily with the challenge of carrying out the often extremely complex sequences of work steps in the shortest possible time and without mistakes. For these reasons, rsEvid guides the user step by step through the complex workflows in so-called “Assistants”. Whether it be dispatch, allocation or consolidation of court exhibits and items of evidence, or the generation of analysis requests, the processing always takes place intuitively.
Thanks to the comprehensive use of DataMatrix codes and scanners, the entire workflow is additionally made significantly more effective and more secure.
Consistent avoidance of unnecessary multiple entry of data
Irrespective of whether court exhibits and items of evidence are documented directly in rsEvid or are transferred to rsEvid from an external application via one of the numerous interfaces provided, the data are only entered once into the system. Multiple entry, which for example was previously necessary in the court exhibits log of both the dispatching and receiving departments, is no longer necessary when using rsEvid. The possible errors associated with multiple entry therefore no longer arise. The principle with data and information is now “Single Entry, Multiple Use”.
Continuous documentation of the lifecycle of a court exhibit
Even the smallest mistake when handling court exhibits, gaps in the documentation, or in the worst case the loss of an exhibit, can ruin months of investigative effort or prevent successful closure of an entire case.
rsEvid documents the entire “lifecycle” of a court exhibit or an item of evidence automatically, inalterably and without gaps: from the data entry, via the processing and forwarding to internal/external analysis departments and documentation of the results, through to destruction or return of the item to its rightful owner. The previous and current location of the item can be determined at all times. The documentation of the exhibits and evidence history replaces the previously manually maintained exhibit and storage logs.
Data views and data protection
rsEvid uses an extensive roles and rights concept to ensure that each individual user can only view the data, and execute the functions, that are essential for their work. In this way, sensitive data can for example be provided with protection at the record level. The data is stored in compliance with statutory requirements. Defined time periods for the deletion of data are also observed.
DOCUMENTATION IS COMPULSORY –
WITH MORE FREEDOM FOR THE ANALYSIS
With rsEvid, rola offers a solution that facilitates all processes associated with the management of evidence and court exhibits, and makes them more secure. A clear workflow, without breakpoints, is guaranteed: from the documentation of the exhibits and items of evidence and the forwarding to external analysis departments, via entry of the results of analyses and investigations, through to the evaluation. This creates more freedom for investigative and analysis staff to focus on their core tasks. The solution follows the principle of “Single Entry, Multiple Use” of data and information.
Automated work support
The documentation and processing of court exhibits and evidence, and the mapping of the crime scene structure, take place in a tree structure. The automated assignment of a unique exhibit number for all elements of the tree takes place in accordance with a standard defined by the German Criminal Police Office (BKA). The current status of an exhibit or an item of evidence is directly visible. This allows the user to quickly determine where analysis requests exist, or which exhibits/evidence are currently in transit between different departments. For each exhibit or item of evidence, rsEvid generates a label with a DataMatrix code for unique and fast identification using a scanner.
The user is guided through the dispatch process with the aid of a software Assistant. The system automatically determines the recipient of an object to be dispatched, based on the associated analysis requests. Manual selection of the recipient is also possible. In addition to important additional information such as “Explosive”, “Fragile” or “Urgent”, the delivery notes and dispatch labels always include a DataMatrix code to facilitate acceptance by the recipient using a scanner. The user who accepts a package is also supported by an Assistant. Both the dispatch and the receipt or forwarding are fully documented.
Preconfigured forms and checklists with handling instructions, and additional information for all types of analyses and inspections, support the user when creating an analysis request. The created request is then assigned to, for example, a forensic science institute, an external laboratory or another police department. For better control, the recipient is notified of this in advance by the system. Results and expert assessments can be entered directly for the analysis requests. Expert assessments are reviewed by a second person prior to approval. Exchange of analysis requests and results with a laboratory information management system (LIMS) is supported via an interface.
Maintaining an overview, even with complex crime scenes
A mobile client significantly increases data quality and processing speed. The client is used to enter and fully document evidence and court exhibits into a laptop computer, directly at the location where they are found, without a link to the central system. The mobile rsEvid system is subsequently synchronised in the police department with the central rsEvid system. Assignment of unique exhibit numbers, and printing of labels for immediate use at the location where the items are found, are also supported, as is the structured documentation of exhibits and evidence in the case of complex crime scene structures.
THE BASIS OF ALL PRODUCTS
As the core element of the solution, rsFrame is always available in the background. Only with this combination of components does the software system exploit its full strengths: not merely the data consolidation but also the direct provision for other systems. The active data exchange and fast analyses are the decisive features.