FAQ’s for Uploading Evidence

West Grey Police Service Evidence Submission Request

You or your organization may have recently received an invitation to upload digital evidence through an external link provided by the West Grey Police Service. The information below provides some background on the privacy and security behind this request.

Privacy & Technology at the West Grey Police Service (WGPS)

The exploration and use of technology is essential for WRPS to meet its obligations to the community regarding public safety, including the prevention and investigation of crimes, as well as to improve overall administration. Technologies assessments protect privacy and security while ensuring the public has access to police information, as outlined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

WGPS is committed to assessing the impacts of new and existing technology, procedures and programs with access and privacy at the forefront, as well as to ensure compliance with the Criminal Code of Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Police Services Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and any other relevant laws or legislation. As such, information is collected through lawful authority, judicial authorization or upon consent.

We continue our commitment to providing citizens with responsive policing services that foster a relationship of trust and transparency within our community.

Digital Evidence Management System

The WGPS Digital Evidence Management System (DEMs) is a Canadian cloud-based platform that allows police to store, manage, transfer and share digital evidence across all public safety agencies. Axon Public Safety Canada operates this platform, also known as Evidence.com and Axon Evidence. The Province of Ontario, on behalf of all police services, procured this cloud-based technology to modernize evidence sharing securely amongst justice sector partners and the general public.

It provides capacity to capture, store, manage and share large audio and video files, including those recorded and shared through cell phones, 9-1-1 audio, interview room and body-worn cameras, as well as photographs. It allows the public to upload evidence related to an investigation directly to our system without the inconvenience of waiting for an officer to attend in person to collect the files.

Axon Public Safety Canada manages our DEMS platform through a Canadian cloud-based system. The system has established organizational-wide controls to ensure secure storage, transfer and disposal of all digital records. These controls govern any wrongful access, attempts to defeat security measures, and inappropriate or personal use of this infrastructure.

Evidence Submission Requests

Axon Citizen is the application WGPS officers use within our DEMS platform to send electronic invitations to witnesses to upload photographic or video evidence into our secure storage cloud, without confiscating phones/devices or setting appointments to gather hard copies of these files. This reduces the need for the use of DVD’s, USB’s, or any other transportable method that ultimately increases the risk of a privacy breach through lost media or storage of personal information in multiple locations.

Axon Citizen allows critical evidence to be submitted securely by citizens into the WGPS DEMs system, where the software’s powerful features will create a chain of custody for all forms of digital evidence anywhere in the province. Files submitted through any Axon Citizen link will undergo a scan for viruses when the files are ingested into system.

Please visit Axon Public Safety Canada directly for information on their privacy considerations and security: https://www.axon.com/axon-citizen-privacy-policy and https://www.axon.com/security/axon-evidence.

Please review the Evidence Submission Request FAQ’s below for information on frequent questions or concerns on the security of your submission.

If you require any further information or clarification on this issue, please contact  Rhonda Lantz, Records Manager at rlantz@westgreyps.ca

Why am I receiving this request?

Through investigation, an officer has concluded that you or your business/organization have access to photos or videos that may have evidentiary value.  The officer has sent you an email or text requesting you to upload your evidence from the hyperlink to our WGPS cloud-based system.

How secure is this storage system?

The Canadian cloud-based system includes features to ensure the evidence meets chain-of-custody requirements, is free from tampering, and contains a forensic fingerprint of each evidence file using industry standard SHA hash function. Integrity is validated before and after upload to ensure no changes occurred during transmission.

Full tamper-proof evidence audit records are created that cannot be edited or changed, even by account administrators.  Evidence data is encrypted in transit and while at rest in storage.

How long will my evidence be stored for?

Any digital files submitted for an investigation but not used as evidence to support a prosecution are retained for a 30-month period.  This takes into consideration the current civil limitation period of 24 months plus the time to serve a claim of 6 months. 

If the files submitted are required as evidence in a court proceeding, they will be retained in accordance with existing evidence retention periods.

Any digital files submitted that do not support an investigation or a court proceeding will be purged after 30-days.

Who will have access to my digital evidence?

Strict controls govern who has access to your digital files.  The investigating officer will have access to any evidence they have requested, along with their supervisor (for auditing purposes), and some officers from specialized investigative units as required.   Anyone else who is required to view the files will submit a formal request for access. If your files are used to support a prosecution, they will be submitted to the Crown Attorney for review and may be presented as evidence in Court.  Any information in WGPS possession may be subject to a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and could be disclosed in accordance with that legislation.  This process comes with a robust auditing and tracking system.

Who is permitted to edit my submitted photos or video?

Only members of the centralized file preparation unit, or in isolated circumstances the investigating officer, will be permitted to edit/vet the digital evidence for the purpose of redacting and vetting information required for court purposes.  Original evidence files are never altered, even when derivative works (video segments) are created.

Can I delete my digital evidence file once I share it with the investigating officer?

No, do not delete any files that you have shared with the investigating officer as you may be required to produce them as evidence in a formal court proceeding.  If you have any questions or concerns about the deletion of your files contained on your device, please contact the investigating officer directly for further direction and instructions. 

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