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Joining the dots: Getting to grips with Twenty-first Century Crime

Posted: 6th February 2020

In today’s connected world, crime is going digital. CGI is working with the UK’s police forces to help them combat an increasingly complex challenge.

Disruption is a fact of modern business life: technology continually re-writes the rules for how companies create value and compete. The digital revolution has transformed the business landscape, to the extent that the world’s biggest retailer, by value, has only a handful of shops. The biggest hotel provider doesn’t own a single hotel room, and a cab company with no cars can become the largest taxi firm on earth.

Just as it has turned commerce on its head, digital has also transformed the world of crime. Today’s global connectivity has created new opportunities for crime to flourish, and to do so on a global scale: there are no borders or passport controls in the digital realm. Criminals have been enthusiastic early adopters of digital, to the extent that 52% of recorded crime is now committed over the internet.

Digital criminals pose new threats to society

The rise of digital crime is presenting the UK’s police services with challenges they have never faced before. For most of their history, the police worked to prevent and detect physical crime. But in the Twenty-first Century, crime has started to virtualise, as fraud, extortion, child abuse, drug dealing and modern-day slavery have migrated online. Even a seemingly “old-fashioned” physical crime, like car theft, has an online dimension: instead of breaking a window to get into your car, a Twenty-first Century thief can download codes from the dark web to clone your car keys.

The nature of crime is changing in other ways. Today’s digital criminals move seamlessly across borders – while police services are still organised for a world with national frontiers. Many of the methods that police services have painstakingly developed to solve crimes are increasingly becoming redundant in the world of digital crime. Conventional forensics, or even modern methods like DNA identification, are of less use when the criminals only leave digital traces behind them.

Joining the dots to defeat digital crime

Looking ahead, crime is set to become more digital, and more challenging to deal with using time-tested policing approaches, as we live more of our lives online. The arrival of 26 billion connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices by 2020 will create even more opportunities for criminals.

At CGI, we have been working for more than 40 years with police and criminal justice agencies in the UK, helping them digitally transform so they can work more effectively.

CGI credentials supporting UK Policing were established when we designed, built and continue to deliver the Police National Database (PND) that enables UK law enforcement agencies in the UK to share information and collaborate.

We continue to leverage this expertise and we continue to work in partnership with UK policing signposting disruptive technologies coming down the line, and helping them to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

Later this year, we will return to this topic and look at a case where CGI is helping international law enforcement agencies to join the dots to better protect the public.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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