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Police Recording of Computer Crime

NCJ Number
Kathryn Hyde-Bales; Sheridan Morris; Andrew Charlton
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined how police forces in the United Kingdom are recording and allocating incidents of computer crime.
As computers and the Internet have taken on larger roles in society, so too has criminal opportunities related to the use of computers and the Internet. Despite the growing occurrence of computer-related crimes, there is currently no formal recording of crimes that involve computers and the Internet. The main reason for this absence is to allow legislation to remain effective and escape redundancy as technologies change. However, the current policies of recording crimes regardless of their modus operandi (for example, fraud is fraud no matter how it is committed) prevents governments and law enforcement from identifying crimes involving computers and the Internet. Following a review of the current policies on reporting and recording crimes in the United Kingdom, the methodology for the current study is enumerated. The goal of the current research was to attempt to identify computer crimes from police force information systems through the use of markers and/or free text searches. Additionally, 224 participants from police forces around the country completed a set of questionnaires regarding policies and practices for recording and allocating computer crimes. The findings on computer crime incident recording indicated that only one police force had a computer crime marker and only one police force could execute a free text search to identify computer crimes in their databases. Additional findings on computer crime allocation and computer crime awareness produced similar findings. Recommendations are offered that include the addition of computer crime markers on both crime recording and force intelligence systems and additional training for individuals assigned to analyze incident, crime, or intelligence data involving computer-related crimes. Footnotes