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Search and seizures during COVID  

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ThePM
(@thepm)
Active Member

Hello all,

Our organization is looking to resume searches and seizures. Of course, because of COVID, additional precautions need to be taken and our procedures also need to be adjusted.

Many aspects of the operation are impacted by those changes (personal protection equipment, transportation, "bag-and-tag" vs onsite preview, working on premises or in a rented "Sprinter" van/mobile lab, should we leave the seized material 72 hours in sealed bags prior to processing, etc.)

If your organization is currently doing searches, would it be possible to share your new procedures and policies ? 

Quote
Posted : 04/06/2020 2:22 pm
Rich2005
(@rich2005)
Active Member
Posted by: @thepm

Hello all,

Our organization is looking to resume searches and seizures. Of course, because of COVID, additional precautions need to be taken and our procedures also need to be adjusted.

Many aspects of the operation are impacted by those changes (personal protection equipment, transportation, "bag-and-tag" vs onsite preview, working on premises or in a rented "Sprinter" van/mobile lab, should we leave the seized material 72 hours in sealed bags prior to processing, etc.)

If your organization is currently doing searches, would it be possible to share your new procedures and policies ? 

We've not yet been called on to do any during lockdown, however, aside from any social distancing, I don't see too much problem dealing with devices.

Wear gloves (you might do this anyway to protect yourself from anything, not just COVID, or avoid DNA contamination if that was a potential option) and dispose of them afterwards.

If you're in a situation where you're trying to keep the phones on to prevent them going locked. You could connect them to a portable charging device - within some form of shielding - before sealing in a bag.

You could leave them for days before examining and that would reduce risk but probably isn't really necessary if you're wearing gloves (I believe the number of days varies by surface anyway and could be 5 days or more - don't think there's definitive science on that yet).

Essentially, I'd say just wearing gloves is fine, and don't touch anything else (especially yourself) when using them, then dispose of them. Clean down the work surface you used afterwards and maybe keep the resealed item separate for your quarantine period (because you'll have touched the bag it's resealed in). Or even wipe down the bag afterwards with a solution that kills the virus but I think we're going into overly paranoid mode here.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/06/2020 5:03 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

I would tentatively propose that the problem can be reduced to the more general one:

How to handle safely an object that has presumably been touched or breathed upon by another human being in the last n hours?

(where n is a totally arbitrary number between 4 and 40 or maybe 400 hours)

So it is IMHO not at all peculiar to device handling in a forensics scenario.

How do you deal with the more general problem every day?

jaclaz

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/06/2020 6:25 pm
christammiller
(@christammiller)
New Member
Posted by: @thepm

Hello all,

Our organization is looking to resume searches and seizures. Of course, because of COVID, additional precautions need to be taken and our procedures also need to be adjusted.

Many aspects of the operation are impacted by those changes (personal protection equipment, transportation, "bag-and-tag" vs onsite preview, working on premises or in a rented "Sprinter" van/mobile lab, should we leave the seized material 72 hours in sealed bags prior to processing, etc.)

If your organization is currently doing searches, would it be possible to share your new procedures and policies ? 

Forensic Focus' Legal Update covered many of these issues -- linking to a resource we worked on with NW3C: https://www.forensicfocus.com/legal/forensic-focus-legal-update-the-covid-19-edition/ Hope it might be useful!

 

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Posted : 09/06/2020 4:27 pm
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