Case Study

Finding the right multimedia redaction tools for the UK’s police force

The Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) is a Home Office unit that adopts an innovative and disruptive approach to solving technology and data problems. Multimedia redaction is one such challenge for the UK’s police forces. We partnered with ACE, the Home Office (HO), Police Digital Services (PDS) and the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) to help them.

About the client

The Home Office wanted to encourage the adoption of multimedia auto redaction tools in policing and the criminal justice system. This will avoid solving the problem in silos, with piecemeal investment in AVMM redaction technology by disparate parties. 

The challenge

  • The police can only share evidential material with courts and other parties once they have redacted sensitive details such as identities and licence plates. 
  • There is an ever increasing volume of digital media, audio, and video, including body worn video footage and digital forensic evidence, that requires redaction. 
  • Manual redaction is time-consuming. Trained police officers take an average of 48 minutes to edit and redact every minute of a video. That is 8 hours for a 10-minute video. 
  • The Home Office would like to avoid this problem being solved piecemeal in silos, by accelerating the adoption of multimedia auto-redaction tools in policing and the criminal justice system. 

Debunking the myths 

Despite claims made by suppliers, there is no current “right” single tool to use for AVMM redaction. In the meantime, it takes a trained police officer an average of 48 minutes to edit and redact one minute of video.

Bridging a skills gap 

With significant experience in Counter Terrorist Policing, our consultants had the strategic and tactical knowledge to understand the key issues and identify the right auto redaction tools.

Exploring the options 

We used our experience to conduct a market review of existing multimedia redaction tools, before testing their capabilities using synthetic data from a number of police units.

 

The solution

We began by scoping the Auto Video Multimedia (AVMM) market. We identified 34 potential suppliers which we narrowed down to 14 after a credibility and capability assessment. 

Using tools provided by our shortlisted suppliers we conducted a three-step automated redaction assessment to evaluate their performance on video faces, personally identifiable information (PII), audio PII, custom audio and profanity. 

We used the output of our credibility, capability and test assessments to create a comprehensive report with case stories that identified the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. 

Accelerating the adoption of automatic redaction technology 

The next phase of the project will allow PDS, NPCCS and HO to explore the suite of AVMM tools that Triad have assessed as part of the Discovery work. This will enable the police force to confidently share information with the courts 

The result

We were able to debunk some myths. No fully automated AVMM redaction tool capable of serving the police force’s needs is currently available. All the current video redaction tools require human intervention to assess the quality of each redaction. 

There is no current “right” single tool for AVMM redaction. Some tools excel at video tasks, others at audio, and the best tool for face redaction isn’t the best tool for detecting text within videos. There is also a trade-off between speed and accuracy. 

We were able to identify and recommend a suite of AVMM tools that police officers can use depending on their requirements. This will create user efficiencies as well as ensuring that police can confidently share information with the courts and other organisations as needed. 

“Triad played a pivotal role in the successful delivery of this AVMM Automated Redaction project. This was a complex and fast-tracked commission that brought together several stakeholders.

The Triad team consistently displayed a very professional approach to this commission, always taking ownership of their work and delivering high-standard quality outputs. They understood the ‘Business’ needs and without guidance, were able to articulate the primary needs of the policing requirements. This is rare.”

– Robin Holland | Senior Product Owner, Police Digital Service