Current social distancing rules and COVID-19 workplace safety measures are making it hard to undertake ‘business as usual’ for the investigation of complaints or claims.
Business are developing work practices that enable these functions to occur whilst ensuring that no person is placed at risk of contracting the virus.
The legal system has found these changes challenging but last week the Victoria Courts announced its strategy for conducting mediation and hearings and disclosed the widespread use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams as its software of choice.
MyKludo Private Investigator Greg Lamey, Principal investigator with Forensix Investigations Group has personal experience of conducting investigations remotely. After 18 years of service in the NSW Police Force, ending as a Detective Inspector and Duty Officer, Greg moved into the corporate world conducting corporate investigations and investigations training in 2015.
Greg considers the most important aspects of conducting remote investigations are:
- Selecting the right platform to use. Zoom, Teams, Facetime, Skype?
- Getting the technology right. Things fail, and you need to have a plan to deal with problems. Be prepared! What will you do if the internet drops out?
- Realising that all the same rules of procedural fairness apply. Nothing changes except you’re not directly in front of the witness, complainant or respondent. It’s likely you’ll need to focus more on the procedural aspects
- Seek assistance from your client to facilitate the process. You’ll most likely need to have someone helping you at the other end
- Ensuring that you explain the process to participants. Don’t leave them wondering. Communicate effectively. Spend more time building rapport. Ensure the witness/respondent is comfortable with the technology and the process
- Data preservation and collection need to be considered in light of the technology
- Consider alternatives to gathering evidence. How could you conduct a site visit? Take photographs/measurements/video? Adaptability is the key… think outside the square!
Whilst Zoom has experienced criticism for potential security issues the platform has been able to address these concerns with the introduction of password protected meetings and other security features.
The Victorian Courts have recommended that Microsoft teams be used as a preference, but this is only possible where at both ends of the communication parties have Microsoft Teams downloaded (available via Office 365).
Any platform used for gathering evidence have these features:
- Screen sharing
- Audio recording and transcription facility if possible
- Messaging in case of line drop out
- Phone connection in case of line drop out
- Minimum technology at the interviewee’s end
Need to know more about how to run a remote investigation? LEARN MORE
Join our FREE 60 minute WEBINAR conducted by Greg Lamey CEO of Forensix Investigations Group on Monday 20 April 2020 at 11am to share in Greg’s experience of conducting remote investigations and conducting investigative interviews over Zoom. REGISTER FOR THE FREE WEBINAR