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Patrol Officers Role in Responding to Cybercrime Essay (Article)

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Updated: May 10th, 2022


The article outlines findings of research that was carried out to document the perceptions and recommendations of police officers who are charged with the duty of safeguarding cyber security. According to the results, the officers have perceived roles in responding to the crime. It states that the officers believe they do not have the capacity to manage cybercrime. Moreover, it points out that the officers believe there is a law enforcement emergency that should have the responsibility of combating cybercrime. The report adds that the officers feel unacquainted with the skills of managing the new wave of crime.

Further, the article stipulates that the line officers have no confidence in the current methods of fighting cybercrime. It records that the officers believe the country has not adopted effective methods of fighting cybercrime. In spite of a few limitations of the study, it has effectively put to light the urgent need for improvement in the security department.

Description of the Research Problem

Technology has fundamentally transformed the aptitude of criminals to engage in crime. Cybercrime has increased as indicated by various sources (Schell and Martin, 2004). Corporations and individuals commonly report the economic impact of cybercrime. Businesses lose billions of dollars annually as children continue to be victimized by the threat. In addition, the crime attacks critical infrastructural facilities such as hospitals, nuclear power plants, and water sources. In spite of these alarming attacks, there is no official statics of the number of attacks. A majority of offenders commonly remain at large. Victims do remain in a state of confusion since the internet permits cybercrime to transcend geographical borders and provide some level of obscurity. The senior police officers consent that the line officers must enhance their capacity to counter the threat of cybercrime (Moore, 2010).

The officials expect patrol officers to respond to cybercrime just as they do in conventional criminal cases, explicitly as first responders who arrive and lock the scene, pull together evidence, and interview witnesses. The lack of statistics depicts that the line officers have achieved little success in carrying out these roles. Despite this, patrol officers are seldom interviewed to discover their preparedness, perceptions, and recommendations for improvement(Moore, 2010). The research attempted to address the gap and gather precise information.

Research Methodology

The researchers intended to understand what should be done to stop cybercrime from the vantage point of the officers in charge. In order to achieve this objective, the experts assessed patrol detectives from two southern cities in the United States. The assessment covered three themes, namely, the agency that the officers believe should be responsible for cyber security, perceptions about their capability, and recommendations for improving the social response to cybercrime. There was no specific sampling strategy. Patrol officers at the rank of Sergeant and below were requested to take part in the assessment. Higher-ranking officers were not allowed to participate in the survey since they commonly execute managerial duties(Moore, 2010). The study objective was to find out the views of the line officers on cyber security management. However, they were involved in distributing survey instruments. They had the opportunity to take part completely.

Officers at SCMPD received survey instruments from their command staff. The command staff had to collect them at a weekly department meeting in spring 2008. The command staff forwarded 144 completed surveys, a 36 percent response rate. Patrol officers at CMPD, on the other hand, got their survey instruments online. The researchers uploaded them on an internal departmental website. An electronic record of 124 completed instruments was delivered to the research staff. This is a 9 percent response rate. In order to know the baseline experience of the officers with cybercrime in each of the cities, respondents were also asked to explain their exposure rates to cybercrime. The researchers translated the results to mean the patrol officers have a perceived role in combating cybercrime.

Contributions to the Literature

The methodology contributed to the valuable development of the literature. The two cities were only used as a sample. The results reflected on the actual demographic characteristics of the police force in the United States. The final survey was 268. The majority were male (86.4%) and White (75.6%). Male members of the police department in the United States are estimated at 87.5 percent and 25 percent consisting of racial minorities (Waters and Brown, 2000). The literature, therefore, uses the two cities to point out the crucial security matters and advocates for swift action.

Notably, addressing cybercrime is an enormous challenge for patrol officers. The numbers of crime cases reported and the estimates of unreported cases indicate that the new security challenge is complex to manage (Waters and Brown, 2000). The Government, therefore, ought to carry out further research to address the problem decisively.

Critique of the Article

The article has several outstanding aspects. Security experts can depend on it since it correlates with scholarly ideologies. The methodology is also scientific. In spite of the exceptional method and style of the research, it has weaknesses.

The first positive aspect is the suitability of the method. The researchers created the method using questions taken up from studies on computer crime awareness among the public and the police (Schell and Martin, 2004). Therefore, the researchers did not develop their own method. However, they incorporated their professional ideologies into the study questions. This style involved seeking responses from volunteer patrol officers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department in Charlotte, North Carolina and those in the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan police department in Savannah Georgia. The two stations, though they are in the southern region of the United States, differ on several characteristics. They satisfactorily represented the diversity of the police department. The article depicted the demographic character of the officers in the United States. The numbers of females and Whites were almost the same as those on the official US security data. Further, the experts have cited numerous research outcomes to prove professionalism. Therefore, the survey method was correct.

However, it is possible to question the accuracy of the survey. Firstly, one may question the competence of the experts to rule that 268 officers’ views represent that of the entire security force in the country. Moreover, the quality of the findings may be compromised due to an inability to observe the procedures. The researchers delegated the responsibility of delivering survey instruments to the command officers. This was superfluous as the senior officers could influence the decision of their juniors to either complete or reject the assignment. Moreover, due to lack of proper supervision, the senior officers could interferer with the outcome of the survey. That might have been the cause of the low response rate of 36%. The officers also uploaded the survey instruments on the CMPD’s internal website and the response rate was 9%. Similar to the first method, the officers’ decisions were subject to the authority’s influence ( Kellenberger, 2001). The online method possibly suffered setbacks due to impersonation, as identification of the authorized staff was difficult.

Therefore, it is impossible to appreciate fully the research work bearing in mind the limitations. Nevertheless, the work stands out as one that calls for transformation in the cyber security department. The article, therefore, successfully describes the need for further investigations and action-taking.


Kellenberger, J. (2001). Moral Relativism, Moral Diversity & Human Relationships. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Moore, R. (2010). Cybercrime Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime. (2nd ed.). Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Schell, B. H., & Martin, C. (2004). Cybercrime: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Waters, I., & Brown, K. (2000). Police Complaints and the Complainants’ Experience. Br J Criminol, 40(4), 617-638.

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