The Police Digital Service (PDS) has taken on Deloitte as capability partner for the Transforming Forensics Programme.
They have agreed on a short term deal, which came into effect in early December and will expire at the end of March, valued at £2.3 million for the consultancy to support a defined set of capabilities and outcomes for the programme.
This involves workstreams on selective extraction and examination, automation, validation services and enduring capability, and the contract notice states that this could be a starting point for further services over the term.
It adds a further element to the programme to strengthen the forensics capability among police forces, against a backdrop in which it is seen to have struggled to keep up with the need to examine devices.
In December HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services published a report stating that some forces have been overwhelmed by the volume of work and do not have a clear understanding of what is involved in digital forensics. It said this has created a postcode lottery of services for victims, and made a series of recommendations for improvements.
These included the provision of a new operating model for forensic services, a Home Office review into the relevant budget and funding, and the integrating of digital forensics into existing forensic science structures.