Board publishes cybercrime research

07 August 2014

Research on the policing of cybercrime, the first of its kind to be commissioned in Northern Ireland, has been published today by the Policing Board. The research examines the levels of public concern in relation to cybercrime and the police response to this type of criminality.

Speaking about the report, Jonathan Craig MLA, Chair of the Board’s Performance Committee said:

“Findings from this timely research show there is a growing public concern about cybercrime. Two thirds of those surveyed who were internet users, were particularly concerned about identity theft and online fraud. However, well over half were also concerned about other cyber-related crimes such as cyber bullying and accidentally encountering various types of unsolicited material online.

The research also identified that parents are even more likely to be concerned in relation to their children being online (three quarters), with two thirds of parents taking additional steps to protect their children from cybercrime, including monitoring their child’s use of social media sites.

Unfortunately the internet presents new opportunities for criminals. Accordingly the PSNI must be equipped and ready to deal with those engaging in cybercrime effectively. An effective police response is essential in building public confidence regarding the reporting of cybercrime.

The majority of those who had been a victim did not contact anyone to report the incident; although 69% said they would contact the PSNI in the future if they were to fall victim to cybercrime. This is of considerable concern to the Board and would seem to indicate a need for greater engagement between the police and the wider community. In tackling cybercrime there is no doubt that the PSNI need to focus on education and outreach, particularly amongst children, young people and parents, however this is not something the PSNI can achieve in isolation and the Board would advocate for support from all relevant agencies. The PSNI recently lent its support to as a useful resource for all internet users to find out about online safety.

The policing of cybercrime has been identified as a priority for the Board in 2014. The latest Policing Plan includes an indicator on protecting the public against emerging threats online from organised crime gangs and hackers. Indeed the Board’s scrutiny of this area of policing has already led to a change in PSNI policy approach to cybercrime and the way this type of crime is recorded.

The Board’s Performance Committee will continue to encourage the PSNI to continue its progress in this area. The Committee’s research and the survey being published today have already assisted the Board in shining a light on what is an area of growing concern to the Northern Ireland community.”


Forany further information please contact the Policing Board Communications Office on 07801738795.

Notes to Editors

The cybercrime research ‘Public confidence in the policing of Cybercrime’ commissioned by the Policing Board was undertaken by Millward Brown Ulster (MBU) and is available on the Board’s website at:

  • Methodology and Sampling
  • Questions were included on the MBU Omnibus Survey.
  • Fieldwork was conducted during February 2014.
  • Face-to-face interviews were undertaken.
  • Following the initial random selection of 45 sampling points (spread over approximately 80 electoral wards), a quota sampling methodology was utilised.
  • Final sample of 1009 was weighted to be representative of NI 16+ population in terms of gender, age, social class, religion and region.
  • All research conducted in compliance with the international standard ISO 20252 : 2012

Notes to Editors ends.