Cyber crime in Scotland: evidence review research findings

Summary findings from a review of the evidence around the scale and nature of cyber crime affecting individuals and businesses in Scotland.

Next steps

In addition to this review, a number of analytical workstreams are being taken forward across numerous organisations, including:

  • Police Scotland Cyber Capability Review;
  • Scottish Institute of Policing Research ( SIPR) qualitative research which looks at policing practices from six different countries around the world; and
  • HMICS Thematic Inspection of Police Scotland response to Cyber-crime.

Furthermore, there are some encouraging signs by way of emerging evidence sources in Scotland. Principal developments include:

  • Police Scotland introduced a cyber-marker to their crime recording systems in April 2016. Police Scotland are currently considering how to enhance how crimes with a cyber-element are marked. Identifying a solution requires challenging the definitions and perceptions of "cyber-crime" and acknowledging the limitation of current legacy systems. Therefore improvement will be incremental as definitions and systems develop.
  • The SCJS has the potential to capture crimes that are not reported to or recorded by the police. Whilst the SCJS does currently include a limited number of questions which provide insight on the extent to which the internet and cyber technology was involved in certain incidents, a more comprehensive module on cyber-crime/online behaviour questions will be included in the SCJS questionnaire from 2018/19. This represents an important step in developing SCJS evidence is this area [10] . More information is available in the SCJS 2018/19 Questionnaire Review Paper and the full 2018/19 questionnaire will be published in due course.
  • It is likely that private companies and businesses including banks, hold useful information on cyber security and incidents where they have been the victim of a crime which occurred online or via cyber technology. The Scottish Government's Justice Analytical Services division is looking to explore this further.

Going forward it is intended that these developments combined with the above analytical work and existing sources, will contribute to a more complete picture about the influences cyber-technology is having on crime in Scotland.


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