Amped Replay – A Case Study Of The Organisational Rollout Within Avon & Somerset Police

“We ultimately landed with Amped Replay, as that was the one that was mostly able to meet our requirements around the quality of evidence, but also some of the functionality which we didn’t even know we needed until we saw it.”

David Matthews, Regional Forensic Video & Audio Manager, Avon and Somerset Police

Amped Replay: ‘the video player for cops’, ‘the CCTV viewer that just works’, ‘VLC on steroids’. This case study, explained by David Spreadborough, Forensic Analyst at Amped Software, shows the power behind the software and looks at how that power has been harnessed by a UK Police Service. Improving efficiency, all while protecting officers from stepping into the forensic requirements of ISO 17025.

Dealing with video evidence is an organizational responsibility. As technology has progressed and the amount of cases involving some form of video has increased, so too have the challenges. Many of those challenges are managed by Amped’s flagship application Amped FIVE, used by Forensic Video Units worldwide. However, all the power in FIVE is simply not needed in many cases. It would be like having a Ferrari to get to the end of your driveway!

What about the officers and detectives who have to deal with the evidence every day, in most of their investigations, and simply require the basics?

The initial stages of an investigation involving CCTV or video evidence are often the most important. If the wrong decisions are made here, caused by the video being played back incorrectly, or handled badly, then the officer could be criticized, and the investigation jeopardized. 

These were just some of the alarms being sounded several years ago, and that was why Amped Replay was built. Not to adhere to an international standard or to comply with some regulation, but to allow video evidence to be decoded and processed quickly by officers for simple case progression, all whilst affording them the forensic rigor they need to protect themselves and their investigation.


Get The Latest DFIR News

Join the Forensic Focus newsletter for the best DFIR articles in your inbox every month.

Unsubscribe any time. We respect your privacy - read our privacy policy.


The Avon & Somerset Requirements

  • Make available the conversion and subsequent playback of proprietary CCTV/DVR video formats to the entire force
  • Make available basic processing functions on image and video evidence to the entire force
  • Ensure compliance by having these activities performed with validated tools that allow them not to be considered “forensic activities” and thus outside of the scope of ISO

Let us break these down one by one.

Conversion and Playback

Due to the uncontrolled nature of the video surveillance industry, there are, amazingly, no standards when it comes to how they can record video for possible use after an incident, i.e., for an investigation. This leaves you, the officer, with the possibility that within your evidence you have one of, possibly, ten thousand different video formats.

Within Amped Replay, officers in Avon & Somerset now have access to the Amped conversion engine. This powers the analysis of the digital data, the identification of the video, the audio, and the all-important timestamps. The player interface then makes that data available to the officer, all whilst preserving the integrity of the image.

Amped Engine is the result of over ten years of CCTV data analysis. With a fully independent team of video engineers, officers can rely on Amped’s support if they encounter a new or previously uncovered CCTV variant.

Basic Processing Functions

After correctly playing back the video, simple tasks can be complicated with other applications.

In Amped Replay, the basic workflow is tabbed along the top.

Following on from the RECENT Projects, which get saved automatically so you don’t lose anything, to the built-in file browser in IMPORT, you have ENHANCE.

With minimal, uncomplicated filters, officers can complete the simple tasks they need to assist them in interpreting their visual evidence.

All the filters used have scientific references to ensure forensic rigor, with repeatability, reproducibility, and explainability.

The added bonus is that, as these are a subset of those built into Amped FIVE, an officer’s Amped Replay project can be opened directly in Amped FIVE to allow further analysis, advanced enhancements, or peer review.

Avon & Somerset Police have utilized the advanced configuration capabilities within Amped Replay to ensure that all enhancement and redaction features available do not fall into their ISO standard operating procedures.

Then there is the ANNOTATE feature.

It really does just take a few minutes to stick some arrows on, perhaps hide a victim or witness, and then maybe magnify an area of interest. As it is designed for video, these can all be tracked with fast and simple assisted tracking.

Let us not forget AUDIO REDACTION too. Especially handy for dealing with your Body Worn Video!

This application was built for policing and was designed to make things quick and easy.

Compliance

Complying with industry standards for evidence handling and processing should go without saying. Amped Replay was built on the forensic foundations of Amped FIVE, so it’s all baked right in.

Within the EXPORT, everything you have done can be exported and uploaded onto your Digital Evidence Management System. This allows officers to be in control of the evidence, knowing that it has been decoded correctly, handled forensically, and produced according to their case requirements.

“The forensic science regulator has quite rightly taken a look at all forensic providers across the UK, whether they’re private or public, and is essentially telling those businesses that they need to start delivering a much better quality service.

So with that came the implementation of ISO 17025 across forensic laboratories in the UK. Now, as part of that sort of ISO implementation, you’ve got some functions that have to be accredited, and then you’ve got other functions that don’t necessarily need to be accredited. [..] So what we needed was a system that would allow for the majority of people to be able to make use of it outside of the scope of ISO. […]

It needed to be something that could be deployed across our force network and crucially, and […] it is needed to be a system that maintains the quality of evidence as we need it to be being in the middle of a forensic discipline.”

David Matthews, Regional Forensic Video & Audio Manager, Avon and Somerset Police

The Benefits

These were seen very quickly.

The frustration of having to wait weeks for video evidence to be converted just so an investigator could view it disappeared overnight. Yes, there will always be some new, or old, legacy formats, but for the majority, Amped Replay allows quick triage and decision-making.

You can probably guess several other benefits, from being able to redact both visual and audio elements of BWV and CCTV, to having that available for interviewing purposes. Replay allows the unhindered flow of video evidence in those investigations where further forensic analysis is not required.

And this is where a big benefit was seen by Avon & Somerset Police.

“The benefits that we’ve seen in our office are a 60% reduction in submitted exhibits and […]cases to my department purely within the first two months of delivery.

So what this has meant for our team because of the reduction in the sort of work that’s coming through to the office means that we can focus on those specialist services that we should be […] performing for our victims of crime.

So when you’ve got highly specialist video technicians working in an office, they shouldn’t be spending their time just getting things ready so that an officer doesn’t have to sit in a 12-week backlog of evidence. They should be able to focus on their investigative work, and officers should be allowed to focus on their investigative work. Our front-line officers are now empowered to be able to continue with their investigations as soon as they get back to the office

and my team has the time that they need in order to focus on those high-risk sorts of investigations that they should be working on […]

It’s reduced the amount of exhibits coming into my department within forensics. It’s reduced the amount of time that it takes to investigate crime from anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. For the average case that has CCTV as an element of it, and ultimately because of those two things, it’s increased the quality of the service that we provide to our victims of crime.”

David Matthews, Regional Forensic Video & Audio Manager, Avon and Somerset Police

Dealing with CCTV is often documented in officer feedback questionnaires as being a little troublesome, and this is putting it politely. Having Amped Replay on their desktops gives officers in Avon & Somerset the protection of a forensic tool but without the headaches.

Play the video, make it brighter, and trim it to the relevant bit. Hide the victim’s face, put a circle over the defendant, and export some images and a video for the case file.

No need for delay, and no need to wait to send the footage to the CPS to make a decision, you can send them the footage straight away (but you still may have to wait for that decision!).

If your service wants to learn more about making Amped Replay available to all officers, then please contact Amped Software to discuss your requirements at info@ampedsoftware.com.

1 thought on “Amped Replay – A Case Study Of The Organisational Rollout Within Avon & Somerset Police”

  1. “Ensure compliance by having these activities performed with validated tools that allow them not to be considered “forensic activities” and thus outside of the scope of ISO”..
    These activities are forensic activities outside of ISO 17025 but still need compliance with the Forensic Science Regulator statutory code under FSA_DIG_300 and the NPCC’s Framework for Video Based Evidence to ensure staff carrying them out are trained and competent to do so:
    https://library.college.police.uk/docs/NPCC/Framework-Video-Evidence-v3.1-2022.pdf?

Leave a Comment

Latest Videos

Digital Forensics News Round-Up, June 12 2024 #dfir #digitalforensics

Forensic Focus 18 hours ago

Digital Forensics News Round-Up, June 12 2024 #dfir #digitalforensics

Forensic Focus 18 hours ago

Internal investigations and eDiscovery face rising challenges in the data collection landscape. There is an urgent need to preserve and analyze data; rising costs for server infrastructure and overhead and the increasing complexity and volume of data from emerging sources is overwhelming. Laptops, computers, phones, tablets, cloud sources, and messaging applications – data is stored anywhere and everywhere with employee communications being the riskiest data sources.

The scope and specific challenges of data collection affect organizations and law firms differently, presenting a need for a variety of solutions to best fit their needs. With Cellebrite’s suite of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) cloud-based collection solutions, corporate investigators and eDiscovery practitioners can close investigations and get to review faster.

Cellebrite's market-leading SaaS based solutions minimize business disruption and save organizations money by:

- Eliminating the need for large upfront costs and maintenance expenses
- Minimizing overhead costs without hosting the solution, no hardware shipping, and no technical calls for assistance
- Minimal and predictable data collection costs, allowing you to scale your usage according to your specific needs and budgetary considerations
- Stay up to date with continuous updates to data sources with updates pushed to the Cellebrite cloud
- Close investigations and review discovery faster with cloud-based innovation
- Manage customer requests and provide transparency throughout your organization across the globe

Watch Cellebrite's webinar where Monica Harris, Product Business Manager, showcases how Cellebrite’s range of SaaS-based solutions have you covered whether you need remote collection across all devices, including computers, cloud sources, chat applications, and mobile devices or full-file system advanced collection capabilities across the widest range of mobile devices and applications.

Internal investigations and eDiscovery face rising challenges in the data collection landscape. There is an urgent need to preserve and analyze data; rising costs for server infrastructure and overhead and the increasing complexity and volume of data from emerging sources is overwhelming. Laptops, computers, phones, tablets, cloud sources, and messaging applications – data is stored anywhere and everywhere with employee communications being the riskiest data sources.

The scope and specific challenges of data collection affect organizations and law firms differently, presenting a need for a variety of solutions to best fit their needs. With Cellebrite’s suite of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) cloud-based collection solutions, corporate investigators and eDiscovery practitioners can close investigations and get to review faster.

Cellebrite's market-leading SaaS based solutions minimize business disruption and save organizations money by:

- Eliminating the need for large upfront costs and maintenance expenses
- Minimizing overhead costs without hosting the solution, no hardware shipping, and no technical calls for assistance
- Minimal and predictable data collection costs, allowing you to scale your usage according to your specific needs and budgetary considerations
- Stay up to date with continuous updates to data sources with updates pushed to the Cellebrite cloud
- Close investigations and review discovery faster with cloud-based innovation
- Manage customer requests and provide transparency throughout your organization across the globe

Watch Cellebrite's webinar where Monica Harris, Product Business Manager, showcases how Cellebrite’s range of SaaS-based solutions have you covered whether you need remote collection across all devices, including computers, cloud sources, chat applications, and mobile devices or full-file system advanced collection capabilities across the widest range of mobile devices and applications.

YouTube Video UCQajlJPesqmyWJDN52AZI4Q_SE7Cl5jkigk

Maximising Data Collection With SaaS Innovations

Forensic Focus 10th June 2024 12:42 pm

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Important: No API Key Entered.

Many features are not available without adding an API Key. Please go to the YouTube Feeds settings page to add an API key after following these instructions.

Latest Articles