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Digital evidence sharing system for Scottish justice system takes a step forward

Laptop with crime scene tape across it - Image credit: Adobe Stock

Digital evidence sharing system for Scottish justice system takes a step forward

Sharing of digital evidence across the justice system in Scotland is about to take a step forward with the setting up of a new national data sharing system.

The Scottish Government has launched the procurement process for a new ‘digital evidence sharing capability’ (DESC).

DESC is a collaboration between the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the defence community that aims to transform the way that digital evidence is managed throughout criminal investigations and prosecutions.

It will allow users such as police officers, prosecutors, court staff and defence agents to digitally access evidence in an efficient and user-friendly way.

The system could allow cases to be resolved faster and improve the experiences of victims and witnesses.

It will allow for earlier consideration and disclosure of evidence, reducing unnecessary inconvenience to witnesses and the risk of traumatising victims further.

It also could reduce costs involved in managing and transporting evidence such as CCTV footage, video interviews and forensic images in physical form.

The data will be held in secure facilities that are certified for the storage and access of evidential material.

Evidence will only be accessible by approved staff such as police officers, fiscal officers and defence agents, with access to the information monitored and audited.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We are taking action to improve the experiences of victims and witnesses at every stage of the criminal justice process.

“This change will make a real difference to the time taken for cases to come court, allowing those involved in criminal cases to move on with their lives sooner.

“Reducing delays is just one of the benefits of this project, which will make evidence sharing more cost effective and provide the groundwork for further modernisation of the criminal process.”

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