As a criminal investigation police, and specifically as a unit of special surveillance operations, Policia Judiciaria (PJ) uses – for more than a decade now – video surveillance systems capable of automatic triggering, based on pixel level changes. As these systems are meant for criminal investigation surveillance, they are designed and built according to unique specifications regarding: remote management capability, low light conditions, concealment, and triggering. These systems define specific zones of the image and memorize the respective pixel sequence in order to be able to react to specific change patterns.
The FORENSOR project aims to develop a system that will exceed (at least some of) the aforementioned characteristics of the systems currently used by PJ and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Specifically, the FORENSOR system is expected to ensure low battery consumption (and, thus, significantly increase deployment period), operation in low light conditions, compatibility with communication encryption protocols, and a low price.
For a national level LEA, such as PJ, these are very important features. Portugal is a country with large, isolated rural zones and an extensive maritime border, which are both difficult to control. It is really hard to deploy surveillance systems when police officers are investigating crime suspects in such types of areas. Isolated places in rural zones or on the coastal line are extremely delicate to work with as a police officer. All movements made by outsiders (persons that do not belong to the area, foreigners) will be easily detected.
While operating in such areas, it is critical to ensure minimum maintenance operations when PJ deploys criminal investigation surveillance or other special equipment. For example, low energy consumption/ long lasting batteries would allow the autonomous operation of the equipment for a long time, thus minimizing maintenance operations (change of batteries in this specific case).
Low light sensors are also very important to PJ for surveillance operations occurring during night time in places where there is no artificial lighting or, if there is, it is not enough for normal sensors’ operation. Normal cameras cannot produce good images in low light conditions.
Furthermore, encrypted communication protocols are becoming increasingly necessary for criminal investigation as criminals are using more and more often counter measures (scanners searching for signals in the radio frequency spectrum and jamming them).
Finally, a low price is of course a major benefit for most LEAs since these organisations are usually obliged to operate within strict budgetary limits, as it is PJ’s case.