What is the digital intelligence and investigation project?

Published on 6 September 2021
How the College delivers operationally focused learning resources for everyone in policing
Explainer
5 mins read
Candidates in a classroom

Our digital intelligence and investigation (DII) project delivers operationally focused learning resources that help you to develop understanding and responses to crimes with a digital element.

A team of experts with backgrounds in the digital intelligence and investigation areas of policing identify what frontline police officers and staff need to know, and turn those concepts into digital learning resources.

For 2020-2021, we were awarded funding to create learning materials that support new and existing officers and staff. The project was previously a programme under the digital policing portfolio (DPP).

We have refined it to focus on developing digital skills for the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales (known as the 20k uplift programme), and other frontline roles.

DII project

This 'bite sized' learning resources that help everyone in policing, including those new to the service, to develop their digital intelligence and investigation understanding when responding to a crime.

Capability improvement hub

This works closely with forces, specific National Police Chiefs’ Council areas, the National Crime Agency and other experts to understand the current challenges and opportunities in the DII environment. It:

  • provides insight into what frontline policing needs to meet the challenge of the digital world
  • ensures that policing has the continual ability to assess and improve its DII capability in a nationally coherent and consistent way
  • scans the digital environment to identify emerging strategic and operational challenges and opportunities for policing
  • interacts with subject-matter experts from academia, policing and law enforcement agencies at home and abroad
  • works with the digital learning and knowledge base to turn identified challenges and opportunities into bite-sized resources to support delivery of digital intelligence and investigation services to the public
  • reports to the College on strategic issues that may require a response from us and/or other bodies, including the NPCC

Operation Modify

Our interactive resource consisting of 10 episodes – now available as a boxset through College Learn – helps new and serving officers, police staff and volunteers to acquire the digital skills they need to undertake investigations effectively.

More about Op Modify

Digital learning and knowledge base

This turns the insights from the capability improvement hub into resources that forces can use to upskill new recruits and those already in policing. It:

  • develops the digital curriculum based on a 'tradecraft approach' identifying skills most useful in the operational environment
  • delivers Operation Modify – an interactive learning programme designed to enhance digital skills in frontline and core policing in England and Wales
  • develops and deliver events across the regions
  • creates online resources and products to be made available via College Learn (previously known as MLE and NCALT) and Knowledge Hub
  • explores the best means to make information available to responders and police staff at the point of need
  • provides easily accessible reference material (like a wiki), ideally at the 'point of need'
  • enables the front line to use the content to identify digital investigation opportunities and to assist victims and witnesses with their personal digital safety
  • provides easily accessible reference material on the Knowledge Hub and the CyberDigiTools app used to support Operation Modify

Digital skills framework

This is a developing area that identifies skills vital to all frontline officers as well as pinpointing more specific skills for specialised roles. It:

  • supports everyone in policing to identify the most relevant digital skills they require for their particular function or role
  • assists supervisors with setting professional development review objectives and supporting continuing professional development
  • helps organisational change, understanding what skills are required across the different capabilities
  • links in with other national projects and local initiatives to develop national best practice

Background

Two major reports have highlighted the need to develop DII capabilities. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) identified areas for improvement in its December 2015 report 'Real lives, real crimes', including:

  • showing that the police service takes digital crime and its impact seriously
  • better tailored support and advice for victims of digital crime
  • better awareness of how to investigate digital crime and the evidence required to support such an investigation
  • a more consistent and coordinated police response within and across force boundaries

The NPCC's 'Policing Vision 2025' was launched in 2016, stating that the development of digital investigation and intelligence capabilities would:

Improve our understanding of the digital footprint to counter internet-facilitated, cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent criminality.

In response, the College developed the digital policing learning programme with key stakeholders across the digital policing landscape.

Under DPP, we hosted a series of national practitioner focus groups, interviews and workshops to evolve the curriculum and content. This led to the development of the digital policing foundation level 1 learning programme.

Digital policing foundation level 1

This learning programme helps you understand the use and misuse of devices, software and apps that use the web and how they feature in the policing landscape. It has been developed for new recruits and experienced officers and staff who wish to update their knowledge.

The programme supports staff to be:

  • confident facing situations where there is a digital element
  • competent in identifying and carrying out the actions required by those circumstances
  • able to ensure they are compliant in their actions

Level 1 includes an introduction to the criminal use of technology and devices, the involvement and use of social media and the opportunities of the internet in relation to intelligence and investigations. It also considers officer safety implications and the concept of 'digital hygiene'.