E-crime: the new frontier

E-crime: the new frontier

Howard Broad

Crimes are committed today in ways we could barely imagine in 1984, when the Police's Electronic Crime Laboratory opened.
 
I visited it the other day, to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It's housed in a low-key, Wellington building but there is some phenomenal technology inside.
 
When it first opened (with a head count of one), computers and cell phones were baffling, cumbersome things belonging to boffins or the super-rich. They were uncommon in everyday life, and certainly not a typical component of crime.
 
Now it's unusual to find a crime that doesn't involve some kind of electronic device. There are the obvious cases, such as child pornography or fraud on the internet, but if someone deals drugs or beats up another person, there's a good chance there will be a text or email about it.
 
Our electronic crime lab processes these exhibits in vast numbers - from about 40 a year when it opened to over 16,000 a year now.
 
It's far more than our forensic specialists could deal with, so we have developed a ground-breaking application which means every investigator can find the evidence they need. It's called EVE - the Environment for Virtualised Evidence.
 
When police seize a computer or other storage device, say through the use of a search warrant, they can create an exact copy and examine it through their own computers. It's like looking through the alleged offender's system but doesn't risk tampering with evidence.
 
Point and click search tools help officers locate files even if they have been hidden or deleted.
 
The evidence this uncovers can be quite compelling, and it's easily understood by juries and witnesses.
 
I am very impressed by what our staff at the electronic crime lab have achieved as part of their normal work. This was all done without extra staff, equipment or money. New Zealand Customs is already trialing it and other law enforcement agencies around the world are very interested.
 
EVE technology is at the frontier of e-crime. That frontier gets pushed forward every day, and it's a credit to our people that New Zealand Police is leading the way.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Minister of Police Hon Judith Collins,
National Manager E-Crime, Maarten Kleintjes with a cake to celebrate the Police Crime Lab's 25th Anniversary.