Police Evidence-Submission Tool Axon Citizen Launches in B.C.

Some Canadian law enforcement agencies are testing a new online tool that will make it easier for the community to submit crime-related evidence.

The Canadian arm of Scottsdale-based Axon has launched Axon Citizen: a digital evidence portal that allows community members to directly upload photos and videos to police services from their mobile devices.

“We received numerous requests from police services in Canada to help streamline the process of evidence collection from the public and local businesses,” said Vishal Dhir, Axon’s managing director for Canada and Latin America, in a release.

The tool helps law enforcement agencies collect evidence for crimes under investigation and can also filter what evidence may or may not be relevant, helping them manage incoming photos, video and audio files.

“Axon Citizen offers a solution to this problem by allowing videos and photos to go straight from the community into the police department’s Evidence.com account. I’m excited about this tool as it does exactly that — it maximizes officer efficiency, while giving the public an easy way to share information with their local police service,” said Dhir.

While there are a number of reasons why someone may hesitate to submit crime evidence, Axon recognizes people may not be so willing to turn over photos or videos if they think they could be implicated.

The company said its Citizen tool will do “everything possible to not capture obvious attribution data without tampering with the evidence submission, or destroying the usefulness of the submitted evidence.”

However, any inherent contextual information in the submitted evidence could still be used by law enforcement to investigate and identify the submitter.

So far, Abbotsford Police Department is the only local police service that has been announced as a testbed for the Canadian launch, but Axon said that its tool is being trialled by a number of agencies in the country. Axon Citizen was rolled out in the United States in late October.