August 16, 2022

Cell site Q&A #3

The third and final part of our Q&A series with CCL's cell site experts and this time we ask them to put modesty aside and explain why they are in such high demand.

CCL has one of the largest, and best regarded team of cell site analysts in the UK. They are regularly involved in delivering expert evidence in court and their work and testimony are often cited by police investigation teams as playing a pivotal role in securing convictions.
With cell site continuing to evolve and mature as a forensic science, against the backdrop of a fast-changing technological world, we thought the occasional Q&A drop-in with the team would be useful.
In each Q&A we ask the same question across the team, bringing you the best of the answers. Following on from Q&A #1 and Q&A #2, we finish up with one last question and ask the team to put their modesty aside!

"The CCL cell site team is very highly regarded and much in demand. Why is that?"
Laurence Morgan:

“CCL is at the forefront of pushing the validity of accreditation and providing national guidance on the interpretation of data. It employs Principal Cell Site Experts that are nationally renowned and respected in their field. It places its reputation at the forefront of its methodology and the quality of its work.”
Brian Edwards:

“At CCL we have a team of experts with a broad depth of knowledge not just of mobile telephony but also the principles of Case Assessment Interpretation (CAI), which underpins how cell site evidence must be presented in court. We actively promote CAI. We also conduct extensive validation and verification of our methods which is supported by an R&D team that allows us to make the very best use of our tools.”
Matt Tart:

“We separate skills, knowledge and understanding within our training and competency framework. We believe that expert evidence requires competence in all three areas, and if any area of expertise is missing, evidence may be unsafe (either during the trial or many years later, at appeal)
o   Skills - we can normalise data, operate survey equipment, produce maps
o   Knowledge - we have a depth and breadth of knowledge within the team that is unsurpassed, with deep experience of network infrastructure, how mobile devices interact with that infrastructure and how to test understanding (validation). This results in deep forensic expertise, and we understand how the evidence considered (the CDRs, artefacts that result from network activity) are generated. This is deeper telecomms knowledge which takes time and effort to accumulate; it does not happen from normalising CDRs or conducting surveys. Someone who has mapped 1,000 CDRs has the experience of mapping a CDR 1,000 times, they do not automatically start understanding how that data was generated from doing so
o   Understanding, assessing and expressing uncertainty (a deep knowledge of uncertainty as a result of extensive testing and validations) and understanding inference, in particular surrounding the CAI model (FSR-C-118)      
We are fully aware of (and comply with) the FSR Codes, Rules and Regulations, in particular surrounding requirements to understand reliability, accuracy and precision as part of our evidence.
We have a particular focus on inference to give balanced, transparent, robust and logical opinion evidence that is safe, now and at potential later appeal
We have active R&D. We develop new methods and share this depth and breadth of knowledge via publications. We have received commendations for this research
We offer a bespoke service, tuned to case circumstances. "One size fits all" only results in badly fitting stuff.”

Kevin Weeks:

"CCL is big enough to have a diverse set of skills and experience which means we all have a detailed knowledge of how mobile networks work coupled with the experience of providing robust and reliable evidence. The outcome is that we all have the ability to explain complicated things in a simple way – an essential requirement of an expert witness."
Robert Moore:

“The answer is in the who and the how, I think. We have a sizeable team, in terms of both numbers and experience, and we share that knowledge and help and push each other. We’re also supremely focused on Case Assessment Interpretation and accreditation, as we look to drive standards and shape best practice.”
Stuart Preston, Dr Iain Brodie and Richard Haseler spoke as one:

“It’s not just the number of experts but it’s the collective experience we have, with real diversity in terms of backgrounds and specialities but always working together to take cell site forward.”

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