SIPR have been working with our Policing partners to identify effective ways to provide support during these times. It was identified that a series of short relevant briefings could inform policy and practice. Therefore, SIPR is proud to present a new briefing series - 'Research Evidence in Policing: Pandemics'.
The aim of this series is to collate research evidence (particularly from Scotland –but also from further afield where of relevance) which will help support policing organisations at this time.
This series provides an excellent opportunity to share research findings and generate impact and knowledge exchange during a time when traditional options may be limited, and, as always, we are keen to highlight research from across the SIPR consortium so please get in contact if you would like to share any pandemic relevant reaseach.
Drawing on both international and Scottish research, this brief outlines key findings that relate to police social media use and discusses how this research can provide a framework for police social media use during a pandemic. The brief argues that Covid-19 and other crisis situations make police communication and community engagement a crucial component of police work (even more so than at other times). It also argues that social media provides an excellent avenue to help achieve this communication and engagement.
This report is written with a Scottish audience in mind, but our conclusions are potentially relevant to changing police practices around the world. COVID-19 and the government response to it have given rise to a small number of novel ‘targeted’ cybercrime attack vectors (largely centred around messaging and tracing). They have additionally given a COVID-spin to classic scams and vulnerabilities, and are causing a rise in ‘volume’ cybercrime through more general transformations to the rhythms of people’s daily routines as patterns of work, leisure and study have changed as a result of lockdown and social distancing. Paradoxically, greater use of Internet technologies following this global pandemic will lead to an increasing localisation of many aspects of cyber-risk.
While investigation is rightly handled by law enforcement agencies and cyber security is now a shared undertaking by government, law enforcement, businesses, organisations and individuals, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed a potential role for local or territorial police forces such as Police Scotland to take leadership in preventative responses to future rises in ‘volume’ cybercrime, drawing on their unique strengths and capacities to deliver crime prevention at the local level, including engaging with potential victims and offenders. With indications of the increased localism of much cybercrime, there is an increasing demand for the knowledge, skills, and community connections of frontline police officers in cybercrime policing and crime prevention. These officers are uniquely well-placed to meet the challenges of cyber-policing which are arising as a result of the current pandemic.