Policing cybercrimes: Situating the Public Police in Networks of Security within Cyberspace

The Internet and the criminal behaviour it transforms (cybercrime) pose considerable challenges for order maintenance and law enforcement because Internet-related offending takes place within a global context while crime tends to be nationally defined. Policing cyber-crime is made all the more complex by the very nature of policing and security being networked and nodal and also because within this framework the public police play only a small part in the policing of the Internet. In this paper it is argued that the future of the public police role in policing the Internet is more than simply acquiring new knowledge and capacity, but it is about forging new relationships with the other nodes within the networks of Internet security. These relationships require a range of transformations to take place in order to enhance the effectiveness and legitimacy of the nodal architecture. It will then be argued that some of the contradictions faced by ‘the police’ are being reconciled by the gradual reconstitution of a neo-Peelian paradigm across a global span, which brings with it a range of instrumental and normative challenges.

David S. Wall
© Police Practice and Research, 2011