It has been reported by police forces across the country that many phones and tablets have had their data completely removed whilst being held in custody. It has allegedly happened in 6 different incidences over the past year for Dorset police however they remain baffled as to how it has happened.
Since modern technology allows users to remotely wipe data in order to protect their personal files, procedures are in place in order to retain the information on them when seized by police, however these evidently have not been enough to prevent data being cleared. Current tactics involve placing the device in a bag which prevents radio frequency, as data cannot be wiped without a signal.
In instances where the team are unable to seize the device within an hour, they request for the device to be placed in a microwave as this has the same effect (although please note, it is not recommended to turn the microwave on whilst it’s in there). Since these methods are in place, it remains unknown as to how the data was wiped or whether it was done prior to being placed in custody.
The phones seized are not always those of the arrested however it is believed that the loss of data from these phones had no negative impact upon the conviction. Although since they had no knowledge of the content held, police remain clueless as to whether the devices would have provided any supporting information. Cambridgeshire, Durham and Nottingham police have also reported at least one incidence of lost data in the past year.