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Police are in talks with companies about deploying a tool to detect evidence of illegal activity on PCs, aiming for it to be as easy to use as a breathalyser.
Officers in the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) e-crime group are looking into commercial devices that can search text, pictures and computer code on a hard disc for material of interest.
Such 'digital triage' tools would allow police the flexibility to search for anything from text in emails relating to stolen goods to illegal images.