Digital investigation training rolls out across North West police forces

More than 1,100 police officers and members of police staff across the across North West are being equipped with the digital investigation skills needed to meet the challenges of modern policing.

Feb 19, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Assistant Chief Constable Jonny Blackwell

The Police Digital Academy (PDA), a partnership between five North West police forces, has been running short, virtual sessions since February 5, which focus on providing officers and staff with the best evidence-based digital investigation training.

Assistant Chief Constable Jonny Blackwell of Cumbria Constabulary said: “Technology continues to change at pace, which means the threats and opportunities that changing technology provides are also developing quickly.

“No longer can digital investigation be viewed as a specialist area alone; we must mainstream digital investigation skills across our front line.”

During the five-week training programme, officers and staff will learn from subject matter experts on key areas of digital investigation.

Feedback from attendees has included positive commentary on how the sessions provided clear and impactful information within a short training session.

In total, 1,157 officers and staff attended sessions during the opening two weeks of the programme.

Mr Blackwell said: “I am extremely proud of the work conducted by all involved in the creation of the PDA and the detailed planning which has gone into the delivery of this initial training.

“I am also really pleased to have heard so much positive feedback from frontline officers and staff who have attended sessions so far.

“The academy provides great opportunities for officers and staff across Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside to gain skills which are required for policing in 2024 and beyond.”

He said the remote sessions will continue to be held throughout February and early March. A virtual library of sessions will be available in due course for officers and staff including all academy content.

“One of the key principles of the academy is that training is agile and responsive, as opposed to traditional courses, which can take years to roll out,” said Mr Blackwell. “We cannot afford to fall behind technology. Therefore, our training will move at pace to meet the challenges of modern policing.”

Training areas being developed by the PDA are a result of evidence-based research undertaken by the academy’s Digital Research Hub into a range of themes, including domestic abuse investigations. The research also ensures the skills being delivered are what officers and staff require to do their job.

Mr Blackwell added: “We aim to empower officers and staff with the digital skills needed to engage effectively with communities, foster trust and enhance public confidence in policing by striving for a police service that reflects the digital diversity of the communities it serves.”

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