The challenges facing specialist cyber-crime units in Australia: An empirical analysis

This paper presents original, empirical research on specialist cyber-crime units in Australia to report on the issues and problems faced by police staff at the frontline of cyber-policing.

The growing threat of cyber-crime poses significant challenges for police organisations.

Using a mix of survey data (n=31) and in-depth interviewing with supervisors, key investigators, and civilian support staff from two specialist cyber-crime units (n=22), this paper outlines the priority challenges as identified by police staff. While staff report generally positive levels of job satisfaction working in the field of cyber-crime, three major themes emerged from soliciting staff perspectives on cyber-policing: (a) the accelerating quantity of the workload as cyber-crime becomes a bigger social problem, (b) the resourcing of the units has not developed commensurate with demand on workloads, and (c) the level of skills and training within units are often not equal to the nature of the unique cyber-based work. Suggestions by staff of how to improve this situation are considered.

About the speaker

Dr Diarmaid Harkin is a lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University. Diarmaid has conducted a number of studies into Community Policing policy in Scotland. This included an ESRC-funded PhD project at the University of Edinburgh which looked at police-public consultation forums and whether they contribute to police reform, police legitimacy and democratic policing. Completed in 2014, a summary of his findings can be accessed here.

Diarmaid’s paper 'The police and punishment: Understanding the pains of policing' in Theoretical Criminology won the Brian Williams Prize from the British Society of Criminology, for best sole-authored article from an early career researcher.

Diarmaid is currently working on multiple empirical research projects having recently completely some fieldwork in Northern Ireland on Policing and Community Safety Partnerships.

All welcome, but registration in advance is required.


Location details

The Boardroom (2nd floor) 
School of Law
Liberty Building
Belle Vue Road

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