BCS welcomes new ACPO guidelines on rules of evidence for computer based crime

28 August 2003

New police guidelines for IT professionals preparing or giving evidence in computer related crime cases has received a warm welcome from BCS.

In particular, BCS sees the publication of ACPO's long-awaited Version 3 of its Good Practice Guide for Computer-based Electronic Evidence as an important step forward in further enhancing the IT profession's significance in the fight against computer crime.

BCS has long propounded that legal integrity and credibility relating to computer related crime can only be maintained with IT professionals fully supporting the limited police resources in this area. BCS believes that the publication of this new guide will enable IT professionals to provide a tutored enhancement to their own skills in the provision of evidence to support criminal cases. However, BCS also believes a need still exists for a continuing effort to materially improve the co-operation between the IT profession and all parts of the judicial system.

According to Noel Bonczoszek, Chairman of the BCS Information Security Specialist Group, "One major issue relating to the investigation of computer crime is the extent to which well-meaning but untutored people can damage the integrity of gathered computer evidence. This often renders it unusable in criminal cases and usually happens in the early stages of an investigation, before police experts are called in.

"Great care will also be needed in applying the guidelines on child pornography to ensure the defence is not prejudiced by the access restrictions which do not apply in other cases. However, these new guidelines will greatly improve understanding amongst our membership and the wider IT community of the procedures to be followed with obvious benefit to all."

For further information please contact the BCS Press Office.