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Scotland takes steps to build digital evidence vault



Scottish Government sounds out market on potential for system to meet proposals in last year’s review of court procedures

The Scottish Government has taken an early step towards developing the technology to manage digital evidence within the country’s justice system, following last year’s proposal for the creation of a ‘digital evidence and information vault’.

It has put out a prior information notice to potential suppliers saying that it is working with Police Scotland, the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, and the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) to gain an understanding of the possible solutions in the market.

It says it wants systems for storing, accessing and sharing evidence such as documents, videos, audio recordings and images in a secure digital environment.

Among the requirements are that all forms of evidence can be uploaded not just from a web interface, but mobile or body worn devices, and can be searched and viewed based on the linked attributes.

There should also be functions for audit, ‘archive or destroy’, reporting and integration with other systems such as for records or content management. The latter should be possible through open tools and standards such as APIs.

The notice says there should also be federated access for users.

New norm

The move reflects the emphasis on digital technology in the core proposals to emerge last year from an SCTS report, A New Model for Summary Criminal Court Procedure. It said that digital evidence will increasingly become the norm, and there is a need for an evidence and information vault for storage and sharing.

Among the proposals were that pre-trial procedures should take place as part of a digital case management process, that a digital update system should keep witnesses informed of the progress, and that there should be scope for digital sentencing rather than the accused appearing in court.

Image: High Court of Justiciary (detail) by RonAlmog, CC BY 2.0

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