Siren releases GBC poll findings on law enforcement analysis challenges

On May 17, Siren released findings of a Flash Poll conducted by the Government Business Council (GBC) focused on the challenges faced by US law enforcement agencies undertaking digital investigations. The research found that 64% of respondents are finding it increasingly difficult to attract employees with the right technical skills, and 42% are very or extremely challenged by an excess of disparate data sources and are having difficulty in connecting those sources. Overall, this data shows that security concerns, timing, and data aggregation were ongoing challenges for law enforcement as new technologies and data streams emerge.

Trouble connecting digital evidence and making data links

The most crucial part of an investigation is finding connections among suspects, gangs, targets and accomplices in disparate data, enabling an analyst to find a lead or solve a case. Almost half of those polled experience difficulty connecting evidence across data sources or creating data linkages.

A need to process more and more data

Investigative analysts need to achieve the right educational foundation and cultivate the right skill set in today’s technology heavy world. More than 50% of respondents state that it takes at least six months for a new analyst to become productive once onboarded thus emphasizing the importance of retention in law enforcement organizations. As the complexity of crime increases, law enforcement must deal with an increasing number of data sources and tools in investigations. During an average week respondents analyze as many as 7.5 different sources of data, and seven in ten use social media monitoring/analysis data. Despite that high number, given the opportunity, respondents would use an additional three sources if they had access, showing a desire for broader access to incorporate more sources in digital investigations.

In terms of more specific sources, nearly a third of those polled said they would utilize license plate reader and dark web data if available to them and nearly a quarter want to utilize dark web threat intelligence data, incident based National Criminal Justice Info Sharing Exchange, and threat awareness sources.

Sensitivity remains around the use of AI

Despite the recent hype surrounding artificial intelligence, those responsible for deploying AI-based solutions in law enforcement are reluctant to use it. Nearly half (48%) of those polled say their organizations are “not at all willing” to deploy an AI-based artificial solution for data consolidation, visualization and analysis. Concerns such as data privacy and security are cited as barriers to adoption. Crucially, law enforcement is required to ensure that decisions around guilt or innocence are entirely human and not automated.

Respondents, however, did recognize the potential benefits of adopting AI to help consolidate data sources and provide visualization tools, with the expectation that it would improve data accuracy and save money. In fact, 57% of respondents indicated that the two primary benefits for adopting an AI-based solution would be that more investigators would be able to conduct high tech searches while also having the ability to find, visualize and report on missing links across different data sources.

Bob Griffin, chairman of Siren, said, “The results of this report really highlight what we see every day with our customers. Analysts are using an increasing number of data sources and tools to perform research and create links in their data. Unfortunately, cases are still being abandoned or taking too long to solve.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Source: Siren

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