In response to the increasing criminal global use of drones in order to facilitate crimes ranging from surveillance, transporting of illicit items or remote monitoring, a Drone Response and Forensic Guideline was born.
INTERPOL Innovation Centre and VTO Labs, with the help of the INTERPOL Drone Expert Group forum, held an event in November 2018 in order to organize and develop "The INTERPOL Drone Response and Forensic Guidelines" on a global use level, that was due to be issued this year.
For the first time, Police and other first responders will be provided procedures for handling cases where drones are part of a target criminal and or forensic investigation, designed to extract digital evidence from drones and to trace its past and present uses.
Six Country experts from the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Lebanon, and Bulgaria, came together in order to field test over 10 types of drones being most commonly used by criminals. Their goal was to understand their characteristics, limitations, and to build a uniform response and forensic guideline as a tool for first responders, in order to help find the criminal(s) behind the drone.
A simulation was created for law enforcement investigations as the first steps to take when encountering a drone. Drones were dismantled to locate and analyze the hardware and software.
This type of data can be used to memorialize the events and uses, which could also be critical for evidential data involving investigation(s), through the use of proper chain of custody procedures.
A list of global guidelines emerged from this event that included:
First responder guidelines (basic and advanced);
Summary of guidelines for responders to carry in the field;
Incident Record Forms for non-technical first responders;
Digital forensic examiners flowcharts and notes templates;
Core competencies for first responders and technical first responders.
It is forums like this that help create the foundation for improper drone use in the public sector and can also expand on procedural uses in the private sector.
It is my belief that Universities need to merge and expand their Forensic Criminal Investigation degree with their UAS degree, as a preemptive and anticipated curriculum degree and FAA certification, which needs to be created around the use of UAS/UAV. This will fuel a new generation first responder work force sector as a "UAS/UAV Forensic Investigation Specialists" (no such title yet!); combating not just the illegal use of drones, but also becoming the new first responders and the eyes in the sky for dispatch and its participating agencies. It is this type of thinking that can save both public sector lives and the lives of private sector citizens.
Just imagine if our first responder police, fire department, ambulance and or search and rescue where able to communicate with dispatch and all its participating agencies in real time with a digital and virtual eye in the sky partner ...….
How much faster would the response times be? How successful would the real responders be with critical information, before they arrive at the scene?
How much safer would our first responders be?
How many lives could be saved in both the private and public sector? How much money can be saved by faster response times?
INTERPOL has taken a step in the right direction and this world will be a safer place because of it.
For Hurricanes and similar type catastrophes, this procedure will help with robberies, riots and store raids during moments where first responders are not present or their work load does not permit the availability and immediate assistance in stopping and punishing the criminals who have taken advantage of store owners and innocent bystanders.
Editor: Mike DiCosola