Digital Forensic Investigator wins top academic award

22 Dec 2017 12:00 PM

Charlotte Knill 2 [View Full Size]

A Digital Forensics investigator helping Northumbria Police tackle cybercrime has won a prestigious award from her former University.

Charlotte Knill, 24, a University of Sunderland graduate, has been named their Alumni Achiever of the Year at the University's recent annual awards ceremony.

She joined the force in June this year and works in a large team interrogating digital devices for evidence in criminal investigations.  This involves cutting edge forensic examination of mobile phones, computer hard drives and many other digital devices that are retrieved from crime scenes. The work uncovers much needed evidence which helps officers detect offences including child sexual exploitation, sexual grooming and financial fraud and helps to bring offenders before the courts.

Her role entails analysing data from a vast range of electronic devices, including mobile phones and computer hard drives which are seized by officers during their investigations. This provides essential evidence of criminal activity.

Charlotte said: "Northumbria Police is a great place to work and my role means I can put the skills I learnt at University while studying Computer Forensics to practical use. Northumbria Police were very supportive whilst I was studying at University as they allowed me to work within the Digital Forensics Unit for my placement year. Being able to have this opportunity enabled me to gain real-world experience and skills that I would not have been able to gain elsewhere.

"Working with the police in the Digital Forensics field is a career I have always wanted to do since I started studying at University. The force really values the work my colleagues and I do. It's extremely rewarding when we help officers by providing evidence retrieved from digital devices which convicts criminals. 

"From the digital evidence we find, we can show that a suspect was actively involved in the commission of a criminal offence. These crimes vary from child sexual exploitation, victims being groomed online to fraud cases where suspects have used online means to defraud victims. My work within the Digital Forensics Unit not only helps the force to bring offenders to justice, but also provides reassurance to the community in order to prevent and reduce these types of crimes occurring.

"Cybercrime is a relatively new and constantly expanding area in policing. Digital Forensics didn't really exist as a tool 10 years ago but it is now one of the go-to areas relied on to help officers investigate many serious and complex crimes. I'm very proud to be part of the team that does this work."

Charlotte received her award at the University's recent annual prize giving ceremony at the Stadium of Light.

For information about a career with Northumbria Police visit

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