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Police given access to £1m crime fighting Software used by the Army

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A data system that was first used by the military which was developed to cope with the alleged human rights abuse in Iraq is now being used by forensic investigations into child abuse, hate crimes and computer hacking cases. The Royal Military Police invested £1m in the system called Ares. They also invested in the mobile version for £600,000 which allows the army to use the system in any country they need to go to carry out their investigation.

The Royal Military Police invested in a larger and sophisticated data system to be used by the IHAT team (the Iraq Historic Allegations Team). The RMP were faced with large quantities of data such as filmed interview, mobile phone data and digital evidence recording the detention on Iraqi prisoners. All of this data amount up to 75 terabytes over the five years of alleged abuse by British soldiers between 2005 and 2008.

The old system was hindering the investigators as they would have to go through ever piece of data and slowly download material. The new software means that it has accelerated the process of digital records making it easier for investigation teams. Processing large volumes of data is now a regular challenge for investigators where mobile phones, laptops, memory sticks and even games consoles increasingly feature.

Major Keith Miller, commander of the RMP's Service Police CrimeBureau, said that the software developed for the IHAT investigation is now being used by several civilian forces including SO15, the Metropolitan police's counter-terrorism unit.

Major Keith Miller stated that the investment has dramatically reduced the cost of each investigation. He also stated the investment was much need as “The amount of data associated with each investigation rises by around 120% year on year. It's often about identifying images, for example, people taking 'happy snaps' of assaults or finding stored hate texts."

The RMP handed the IHAT investigation over to the Royal Navy Police as the army didn’t want to been seen to be investigating itself.

The Ares system speeds up investigations into things such as child pornography and abuse cases, which occur in military life much as elsewhere, and increasingly involves digital evidence. "Sequences are often hidden inside other films," Miller said. "The Ares system has a large library of clips so it can compare pornographic material.

"In the past you had to sit down and watch a whole movie to check it hadn't been spliced with something else. Now you can bring up the pictures quickly, display it frame by frame and see if its pornographic."