Investigations are becoming increasingly complex. These days it’s more likely than not that an investigation could involve multiple timelines. You could be managing with an over-arching timeline for the investigation and it’s quite possible you could also be dealing with several other timelines, each mapped to individual victims or suspects.

Take the recent global law enforcement activity taken against organised crime groups triggered through the decryption of EncroChat, for example. It will have been necessary to map the communication timeline of each of the identified suspects against a wealth of information drawn from a range of sources including CCTV, cell site analysis, eye-witness sightings and cyber activity to build a timeline of the movements, interactions and activities of each of the suspects.

As soon as another suspect is identified, a separate timeline will start to be built-out concurrently. It is easy to imagine the complexities involved in establishing and managing the investigative timelines in preparation for the interviews with each of the suspects.

Your next case could involve separate investigative and intelligence timelines extending back over days, months, or even years. The longer the timeline, the more information…. the clearer your timeline will need to be….

If you’re still using A3-size pieces of paper, marker pens and Post-it® notes to manage complex forensic timelines, please keep reading…. the chances are you’re going to be able to make use of a zero-cost and forensically robust digital timeline solution…..

‘the investigation team will need a clear view of the developing investigative and intelligence landscapes’

Whatever your methodology, each timeline will need to grow and adapt to keep pace with the investigation. Being able to make sense of a timeline quickly is paramount; that is, after all, one of its purposes. At all times the investigation team will need a clear view of the developing investigative and intelligence landscapes. Both may not be complete, but each needs to be viewed through the clearest lens possible.

Accurate timelines give interviewers a strategic edge in being able to discern and make sense of large volumes of information. A clear and simple timeline can assist an interview team to interpret and contextualise information quickly. The result is that the cognitive capacity of an interviewing team can be eased and a better understanding of the known facts can be developed.

It follows therefore, that by increasing understanding and reducing an interviewer’s cognitive load, questioning can be more effective, because missing information will be recognised more readily, gaps can be closed and any new information can be quickly understood and contextualised.

Realising the significance of the timeline as an investigative tool, Interview Management Solutions (IMS) were keen to ensure that timeline functionality was embedded as a core function within the TILES System® interview management software. Built by investigators, for investigators, the timeline tool is available at zero-cost as part of the software’s free version.  This 3-minute presentation shows you how simple it is to register and get using the TILES System® timeline in preparation for your next interview:


If you would like to take a closer look and see just how easy it is to use the TILES System® timeline, visit the log-in page and register for free – no credit card required.

To find out more about the TILES System® software, check out the free TILES System® User Induction course here.

How are you currently managing your investigative and interviewing timelines? Isn’t it time to get using those Post-it® notes as reminders again?!