While many governments recognize the need to take action against cybercrime, they always face difficulties in defining the problem at hand.
To effectively tackle the multifaceted and imperceptible nature of cybercrime, criminal justice authorities need a good understanding of the scale, types and impact of the crime. For this reason, the Council of Europe and INTERPOL have jointly developed the Guide for Criminal Justice Statistics on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence to support countries develop a clearer vision of the global problem.
The key goal of this joint effort is to help criminal justice authorities worldwide acquire the statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence by providing good practices and recommendations. Statistics enable the authorities to shape effective policies and operational responses. This guide lays out the agenda for compiling criminal justice statistics with key steps for data collection, analysis and cooperation among multiple stakeholders.
“Well-defined statistics produced in collaboration with criminal justice authorities will not only provide valuable insights into the changing environment, but also strategic indicators for measuring the effectiveness of policies and activities,” said Alexander Seger, Head of the Cybercrime Division of the Council of Europe.
“How countries approach cybercrime and electronic evidence at the national level has a real impact on available options on global cooperation. It also serves as the cornerstone for developing tailored operational responses to reduce the global impact of cybercrime,” said Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime.
INTERPOL and the Council of Europe will continue to cooperate to enhance the ability of criminal justice authorities worldwide to tackle cybercrime and encourage international cooperation in collecting and analyzing electronic evidence.
Measuring the impact of cybercrime enables the whole spectrum of the criminal justice system to shape effective policies and operational responses. It also allows evidence-based mobilization and alignment of resources. By analysing the figures and trends, criminal justice authorities could have a better picture of their own capacities and areas of improvement.
The main purpose of this guide is to support criminal justice authorities in introducing the statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence by providing good practices and recommendations.
At present, there is a lack of understanding of the impact of cybercrime, which leads to numerous challenges as to how authorities set strategic goals and develop operational responses in tackling it. Often, cyber initiatives are developed based only on hypothetical needs, and resources may therefore be misallocated.
Meanwhile, some criminal justice authorities who created statistics have experienced challenges in developing, implementing and interpreting. This is in part due to the absence of a common approach on the methodology for collection and usage of statistical data. There is also no consensus on how relevant authorities can integrate data at the regional or national level, and the methodology or scope of collectable data.
Given the diverse systems and policies, each country is likely to develop its own methodology and categories of data to be collected on cybercrime and electronic evidence.
At the international level, the differences between countries’ judicial systems makes it even more complicated. For instance, the legal definitions of crime differ between countries. In addition, the capacity or capabilities of criminal justice authorities in investigation, prosecution and adjudication in the national context could vary. In terms of sources, authorities outside the criminal justice system may also hold relevant data on cybercrime and electronic evidence.
Computer Emergency Response Teams/Computer Security Information Response Teams (CERT/CSIRT) are good sources of data for accurate and relevant statistics. Therefore, cooperation with diverse actors in industry and academia can be helpful.
The guide is to be used as a reference for enhancing specialized cybercrime capabilities of law enforcement and criminal justice systems in various national contexts.
It also provides recommendations on how to integrate statistics within the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice authorities.
The data used to develop the guide was collected by respondents who translated experienced facts into metadata prepared by the collecting agency. The guide also limits the definition of statistics to the collection of data on actual cases from practitioners working at criminal justice authorities.