Digital Transformations in Forensic Science and Their Impact on Policing

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Type:
Policing in an Age of Reform: An Agenda for Research and Practice, 2021, pp. 173-191
Issue Date:
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Forensic technologies are now more easily transportable, fast and useable in the field by non-specialists. They help detect, collect and analyse a large volume of new and diverse traces generated by criminal activities. These changes, in order of magnitude, induce rapid digital transformations of forensic processes, requiring a radical shift in roles and tasks for traditional forensic and police structures. Examples are presented to help characterise these developments that are subject to many tensions. The new complex situation prompts interrogations about the suitability of a law enforcement paradigm of policing that mainly define the scope of forensic science as ancillary to the criminal justice system. The current context offers instead many opportunities to express the value of forensic thinking in proactive policing. Traceology, as the science of traces, is proposed as the overarching approach to pave the way for balanced, regulated and efficient approaches to intelligence and policing.
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