Dstl hosts drones digital forensics workshop

Posted on 14 June, 2023 by Advance 

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has hosted a collaborative digital forensics workshop to help combat the illegal use of drones. Courtesy Dstl

As drones continue to increase in popularity, there has been significant use in criminal activity as seen by UK policing, as well as their frequent use in conflict environments.

The potential applications of drones continue to evolve as they become more widely available, and at a cheaper price tag. Today, as used by serious organised crime groups, drones can be a threat to critical infrastructure, public safety, and other key areas. However, they can also be a valuable tool and source of evidence for policing.

The Inside X event at the Defence BattleLab in Dorset was attended by digital forensics examiners from many UK police forces and national organisations, drone manufacturers, software suppliers and specialist technology experts. By bringing together the practitioner community to collaborate and build links, the event helped attendees develop skills and awareness as well as new methods of investigation.

Flying displays demonstrated the capability and versatility of commercial and custom-built aircrafts. Participants also had the opportunity to understand how both types of drones connect to their controller, how the data is conveyed back to the pilot and how the drone performs. Techniques to counter drones were also discussed.

Detective Chief Inspector Ed McBryde-Wilding, Police Adviser on Digital, Data and Covert Policing said: “This Home Office commissioned event was the first of its kind, bringing together experience from drone forensic experts across the law enforcement digital forensics community, to enhance our understanding of this important technology.

“Creating the space for specialist digital officers to examine emerging technologies like drone forensics is vital for improving capability in our law enforcement response and we will continue to explore how we can use them to keep the public safe.”

Dstl Technical Lead, Holly, said: “The event was successful in achieving our aims of bringing the community together and developing the capability around drone forensics. The feedback concluded that providing investigators time to focus on one particular topic and learn from each other was invaluable with many forces now liaising with each other on their shared challenges.

“The success of the event has resulted in a request from the customer to host another Inside X in the new financial year.”