The Forensic team for Traffic Accidents of the Dutch National Police aims to uncover the truth about accidents through different lines of investigation. From January to June 2020, we collaborated with the team to see how a digital tool could help them in their investigative process.
How can we streamline the investigative process of the Forensic Research team of Traffic Offenses in terms of decision making, communication and collaboration?
We gained an understanding of our users through desk research, on-site observations and user interviews.
We discovered that the investigative process can be seen as outdated. As most of the work is done on paper, investigators spend about 90% of their working time on administrative tasks. Without a central communication platform, they struggle to actively communicate and collaborate in their work. Investigations aren't as streamlined as they could be, due to a lack of innovation.
To learn about the process in more detail, we organised a 'Process Origami' workshop, a self-made research method based on the Business Origami. In this, we let investigators map out their investigation based on a timeline and map to find all steps of the process and see how stakeholders were connected in this.
By asking questions such as "Can you elaborate?" and "Why is that?", we were able to gain a deeper understanding of the situation and gather detailed insights.
Based on all the research we created several concepts to explore through a design sprint. By combining three concepts, we created a knowledge management system supporting the process from the moment an accident happens to the final case file delivery.
In the concepting phase, I was mainly responsible for the initial mapping by first responders and digitising the checklist for first-line investigators on the street.
First responders can give a description of the accident or call the forensic team immediately
Miscommunication is avoided by asking for visual documentation of the accident
The first responder shares information on victim vehicles, injuries and other factors
In the first phase of our concept (and the investigation), street officers go to the accident to give a description of the situation. Investigators decide whether research is needed based on this.
First, first responders would give a verbal description of the incident, but this caused a 'Chinese Whispers' problem as officers would create their own image of the situation. To solve this, we replaced this step with a mobile interface in the existing Police app. In this, first responders share photos and answer a series of pre-set questions to clearly describe the accident.
As first-line investigators mark found evidence, they can immediately upload visual documentation from their device