New digital triage van to provide enhanced service for rape victims in North Yorkshire

A new digital triage van will provide an enhanced service for victims of rape or serious sexual assault in North Yorkshire

By Louise Perrin
Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:59 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 5:01 pm
From L to R; Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe, Detective Sergeant Liam Carter and Detective Inspector Gavin Mayes of the Cyber Crime Unit.
From L to R; Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe, Detective Sergeant Liam Carter and Detective Inspector Gavin Mayes of the Cyber Crime Unit.

In response to the findings of the government’s Rape Response Review, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office announced a series of measures including the Transforming Forensics (TF) programme.

The aim of the TF programme was to improve how the police service responds to rape or serious sexual offence (RASSO) and other serious crimes.

As a result of this national programme, North Yorkshire Police (NYP) has been able to invest in a new digital triage van.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe and Assistant Chief Constable Lindsey Butterfield check out the state-of-the-art digital forensic equipment contained in the van.

The van is kitted out with the most up-to-date, state of the art forensic equipment – it’s a mobile digital forensic laboratory containing all of the equipment and software that the force needs to perform phone/computer extractions and conduct digital examinations at a scene.

The van is unmarked which means it can visit a victim's home or a crime scene discreetly.

It means officers can take the technology where they need it and to use it when they need it, allowing them to examine a range of devices at the earliest opportunity at any location and, when appropriate, return them immediately.

This will help NYP to meet Government targets around rapid victim mobile phones examinations and reduce the number of devices that need to be retained for further examination.

Detective Superintendent Jon Naughton gives Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe a tour of the mobile digital forensic laboratory.

The main objective of the introduction of this van, however, is to deliver a faster, safer and more sensitive service for those affected by RASSO and other crimes, to deliver better evidence entering courts and increase confidence in the criminal justice system.

ACC Lindsey Butterfield said: “The new digital forensics van is a huge asset to the force as it will help us provide an enhanced service to victims of rape and serious sexual assault.

“We recognise that we must do everything we possibly can to support and protect victims at the most distressing time of their lives, and we are confident this new mobile technology will help us do that. Ultimately, it will also help us deliver our strategy around the prevention of violence against women and girls.

“The use of this van will also strengthen our opportunity to gather valuable evidence and hopefully increase public confidence in the police’s ability to deal with vulnerable victims in the most sensitive way possible.”

Zoë Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: "We must ensure we do all we can to support victims of rape and serious sexual assault while at the same time ensuring we collect the evidence needed to make sure the crimes can be properly investigated.

“These new digital tools are an important part of that, making it easier and quicker for police to collect evidence and making the process less intrusive for those who have been attacked at the most traumatic of times.

“Victims need to feel they will be taken seriously and can achieve justice if they report these crimes, and I will be making sure that happens in North Yorkshire and York."