It has been a pleasure to do my first training for the Council of Europe CyberSouth Team as part of the GLACY+ project. Over two days I have facilitated practical exercises to advance the Budapest Convention 24/7 Network in Morocco.
Although I have now completed e-evidence training for practitioners from more than 80 jurisdictions over the last year or so – I still enjoy the buzz of raising awareness about how to secure this vital evidence. It goes without saying that this crucial evidence can make all the difference to an investigation and trial. It is, therefore, essential that law enforcement, prosecutors, examining and investigative magistrates and the judiciary have a complete understanding about how to make requests for e-evidence stored outside their jurisdiction. The days of saying, “Well that’s just too difficult to get” should be over!
This type of training, targeted to the relevant practitioners after scoping needs and with cross-donor support, is so important. I have recently seen criticism by those who decry the volume of training in the international sphere. This forgets that many countries ask for training to learn about, and prevent, the numerous mistakes others have made. Significantly, it ensures those who actually do the work in the beneficiary countries have the confidence to use practices that work operationally, in often life threatening situations. What is the alternative, don’t teach practitioners meaning no change? Whilst cost/benefit analysis and monitoring and evaluating is important, I don’t believe that practical training, based on methods that work and countries can realistically do, is wasted time and effort. Tangible delivery is also important, so training must be adapted and in context to local resources, laws, procedures and cultures. Bad training that shares knowledge about “how we do it at home” is just for the per diem and fee collectors – but I have to say – I rarely see this as much as I did some five years ago. The donors and providers are clearly selecting the right experts!
Using practical exercises is so important to allow practitioners to test their knowledge and advance their skills, whilst learning from those who work in the field. Applying tried and tested techniques works. For example, I received feedback that as result of our training a jurisdiction secured much needed e-evidence for the first time, which led to a successful prosecution. Brilliant! You may question that this is only one success – but it is so important to receive these ‘good news stories’ as they bring the training to life, demonstrate that what we do is impactful and to show the neigh-sayers how wrong they are. Training those on the ground means we meet the future leaders and those who will champion delivery moving forward – these networks are invaluable!