Mobile Video Interviewing System from Mangold in Law Enforcement

Due to new regulations, from 1 January 2020 the questioning of witnesses and suspects is to be done using legally admissible image & sound recordings. This means mobile solutions are becoming increasingly important, since they need to be used almost anywhere, independent of special interview rooms. For example in adult and juvenile detention facilities or hospitals. These mobile interviewing systems allow particularly urgent initial questioning to be done rapidly, efficiently and independent of location.

Portable Systeme zur Videovernehmung

Some of the project team with the portable systems

Mangold International successfully competed and won in a Europe-wide tender from the Hessen state Criminal Investigation Department for the procurement of more than 40 mobile interviewing systems

The proven standard components of the interviewing system offered by Mangold International was specially adapted to the requirements of the Hessen CID. 

Decisive for the selection were the first-class hardware and software characteristics as well as the comprehensive service that Mangold offers.

Legally admissible evidence gathering using professional audio/video recording

Police, state prosecutor and judicial video interviewing of child witnesses

Based on the new legislation under the German Criminal Procedure Code, Section 136 (4), from 1 January 2020, legally admissible video interviewing must be used in the following cases:

  • if it relates to a premeditated homicide,
  • if it allows better safeguarding of the interest of minors,
  • if the accused has a limited mental capacity or suffers from serious mental illness.

Section 58a of the Code of Criminal Procedure also regulates the recording of the interrogation in picture and sound:

  • so that the legitimate interests of persons under the age of 18 and persons who as children or adolescents have been injured by one of the offenses listed in Section 255a (2) can be better protected or
  • it should be noted that the witness cannot be heard at the trial and the record is required to investigate the truth.

But how do you get reliable, legally admissible statements from children if specific developmental requirements need to be taken into account for example? In addition to the specialist skills of the questioner, it is particularly important to keep the duration of the questioning process as short as possible. Repeated questioning must be avoided wherever possible.

In sexual abuse cases, video questioning of children outside of normal police facilities can be very successful, and can contribute greatly to understanding the situation. Important factors here are building trust, child-friendly interviewing, and accessories such as drawing boards and pads, children’s books, toys and soft toy animals etc.

Avoiding repeated questioning by using mobile Mangold systems

VideoSyncPro Studio Software

Child-friendly interrogation

Mangold's mobile interviewing system is based on the proven and future-oriented software application Mangold VideoSyncPro Studio with a multitude of functions and at the same time simple operation.

Mobile systems from Mangold can be used almost anywhere and provide the opportunity to question children both in interview rooms and their normal environment. There is no significant effort for preparation or installation. Repeated questioning by police, examining magistrates, family courts and so on can often be avoided. This means child witnesses often no longer need to be questioned again during the main court proceedings. Specialists are also able to access existing video files when preparing their psychological assessments. The recordings provide the experts with significantly more psychological profiling information regarding a person than interview records.

The video questioning which is allowed or required by the criminal procedure code involves sensitive interventions, which place a significant psychological strain on all involved. Even the smallest uncertainty or interruption in the process can bring negative results. 

Officials conducting questioning cannot afford technical issues, complex handling, or image, sound or other malfunctions. Even the most minor technical issue can cause a distraction. Particularly with psychologically sensitive witnesses, this can mean questioning has to be stopped.

Selecting a provider with proven, fault-free and future-proof technology is a key factor for success in this sensitive environment. Using a special custom solution for Hessen CID, Mangold International was able to impress the authority with the performance of its mobile interviewing systems

Simple operation, high-performance technology

All components of the Mangold interviewing system come in a rolling case and are ready to use within minutes. The special case has been optimised for minimum weight and maximum strength.

Audio/video recording can be done by almost anyone, without requiring specialist technical skills. The system can also be used intuitively. The principle is “set up, switch on, get started”.

The Mangold system provides the option to live-stream video interviews, including a conference functionality, to remote rooms, for example such as court chambers.

High-resolution optical systems

Kamera aus dem portablen Videolabor

The cameras used capture both the person to be questioned as well as the whole room. In this way audio/video documentation can prove that there were no hidden influences on the person under questioning, and that no other persons were present in the room.

This wide-angle recording also allows persons to move around the room during interviewing, such as children for example who can find it difficult to sit still.

Crystal-clear sound

The volume levels of witnesses and victims can vary widely. The position of the acoustic source can also vary widely due to spontaneous movements of head and body. Naturally in some cases witnesses and victims sometimes also speak quietly and indistinctly. This was taken into account during the selection and development of the audio technology used by Mangold.

Intuitive recording and playback software

Synchronicity

Video observation systems from Mangold also record video and microphone signals in sync, even for long recordings. 

Video streams from different cameras are also synchronized with each other

Both are particularly challenging technical aspects and are not necessarily a given with other video recording systems.

Authenticity of the recordings

The recordings created with the Mangold system are legally admissible and approved for judicial use (case reference, time code, date & time, location, verification, commentary function). In order to check the data integrity, a checksum is calculated directly during recording of each video file. When the recording is re-opened, the checksum is verified. If the checksums are identical, there is an extremely high probability that the recording file was not modified. Multiple videos are recorded independently but in-sync during a session. Any attempt to manipulate the data would require all videos to be modified, which provides another level of security against such attempts.

Markers with time stamp, pausing recordings and automatic report creation

Markers with time stamps can be set and comments can be entered during and after the recording. This allows relevant questioning sections to be marked and commented. The comments are automatically transferred to an interview report later on.

In practice it can happen that an official interviewer may need to leave the room briefly, or a solicitor needs to hold a separate client discussion during a recording. In this case, the Mangold VideoSyncPro Studio software allows the recording to be paused without stopping it. During the break, the recording is displayed as a black image without sound. At the same time, a marker is set and the user is asked to enter a comment, which is then later entered into the interview record automatically.

To maintain an overview of all relevant information, an automatic recording report is created as a PDF for each recording. The report contains the basic data regarding the questioning, the comment entries, as well as the time stamps of the markers.

Security and rights concept

The Mangold VideoSyncPro Studio software has a comprehensive security and rights concept. This allows user roles to be created and assigned, for example such as “Administrator” or “Official”. These roles can then utilise different functions within the software. This makes sure that only technically and legally authorised users can make changes to the system configuration.

Compatibility, password protection and encryption

By law, video questioning records must be retained securely until a case is legally complete. After this the data is deleted and the media returned to the owner, for example the police force. However, due to possible retrials or applicable statutes of limitation, these media files are sometimes retained for longer periods.

It must be possible to exchange interview files between authorities at all times in a straightforward manner. To avoid potential misuse, it must also be ensured that as part of the criminal files, the files can not fall into the wrong hands and be copied.

The audio and video files prepared with Mangold VideoSyncPro Studio fulfil these requirements in different ways:

  • The recordings can be protected using a process approved by the Federal Ministry for Information Security.
  • Unencrypted media files can be played with common video players which are generally present in all operating systems.

Therefore no compatibility problems are likely to occur between police forces, judiciaries and public prosecutors. There is also no need for time-consuming and complex conversion and exporting.

Future-proof setup

The mobile interviewing system from Mangold International is technically state-of-the-art, modular, customisable and ready for use straight away - a secure investment for the future. 

With this solution, the Hessen police service is well-equipped for the future, and also benefits from ongoing Mangold support services.

We are looking forward to your inquiry