Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre

Improving policing of cybercrime

An evidence-based approach into the policing of digital forensics and cybercrime investigations.

Improving policing of cybercrime

The challenge

The Police Knowledge Fund CARI Project was a large-scale collaboration between the Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre (CSI Centre) at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) and West Yorkshire Police (WYP). The CARI Project was designed to improve and incorporate an evidence-based approach into the policing of digital forensics and cybercrime investigations.

the approach

An extensive needs assessment of UK policing and cybercrime and digital evidence was conducted to understand the current situation, and to identify needs across the force. The needs assessment was conducted within West Yorkshire Police, the fourth largest force in England and Wales, involving focus groups and interviews with police staff and strategic leads across key units and roles, in the largest study of its kind to date. This work identified and provided key insights into issues facing policing of cybercrime, across the force and in specific units and roles.

The CARI Project also involved implementing a training and research programme. We provided training in research methods, to the entire Digital Forensics Unit, and the Cybercrime Team within WYP. This needs assessment and research training led to the development of a set of research proposals, which were scored and selected with an emphasis on impact for policing. Subsequently, 12 LBU academics and five WYP police staff co-produced nine research and development workstreams. Each of these collaborative projects was designed to address needs within law enforcement (with pathways to impact designed in).

The impact

The CARI Project has resulted in many practical impacts on UK policing of cybercrime. The project was specifically designed to produce impact by starting the project with an extensive needs assessment to determine the police’s institutional requirements and areas of interest and concern, both operational and strategic, in relation to cybercrime. Arising from this, and following a prioritisation and selection process based on impact, research workstreams worked to provide solutions to identified needs.

Working collaboratively, research projects were conducted to co-produce new knowledge and technical solutions. Produced knowledge and software has been tested by, presented to, and reviewed by police at operational and strategic levels, informing strategic planning and decisions, and integrating tools and techniques into the available toolset for operational policing.

Participating in the needs assessment exercise impacted on the way as a force we were considering cybercrime. It raised discussions at strategic level and locally within police teams [...] as a consequence there was an impact that made a lot of people think about their own role and their connected roles to other departments.

Vanessa Smith West Yorkshire Police Cybercrime Lead


  • M. Shan-A-Khuda and Z. C. Schreuders “Understanding Cybercrime Victimisation: Modelling The Local Area Variations in Routinely Collected Cybercrime Police Data Using Latent Class Analysis,” International Journal of Cyber Criminology (IJCC), 2020
  • Z. C. Schreuders, T. Cockcroft, E. Butterfield, J. Elliott, R. Soobhany, and M. Shan-A-Khuda “Needs Assessment of Cybercrime and Digital Evidence in a UK Police Force,” International Journal of Cyber Criminology (IJCC), 2020
  • T. Cockcroft, M. Shan-A-Khuda, P. Trevorrow, and Z. C. Schreuders “Police Cybercrime Training: Perceptions, Pedagogy and Policy,” Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Oxford University Press, 2018
  • R. Soobhany, A.S. Akbari, and Z.C. Schreuders, “Reinforced source camera identification using non-decimated wavelet transform,” IET International Conference on Biomedical Image and Signal Processing, Wuhan, China, 2017
  • Gorbenko, A., Romanovsky, A., Tarasyuk, O., Biloborodov, O. (2019) ‘From Analysing Operating System Vulnerabilities to Designing Multiversion Intrusion-Tolerant Architectures’, IEEE Transactions on Reliability. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. DOI: 10.1109/tr.2019.2897248
  • Chang, V and Ramachandran, M (2016) Towards achieving Cloud Data Security with the Cloud Computing Adoption Framework, IEEE Transaction on Service Computing, Issue No.01 - Jan.-Feb. (2016 vol.9), pp: 138-151

  • Engineering, computing and sustainability
  • Business and law
  • Study With us

    Study for a research degree at Leeds Beckett and you'll join a thriving academic community in an inspiring and supportive environment. The Graduate School supports our increasingly active postgraduate research community and encourages students to make a difference to the university’s research culture and environment.

    Study With us
  • research with us

    Leeds Beckett University can conduct research on your behalf to help you to implement change and realise your business potential. Validating your ideas with academic evidence can be an essential part of winning contracts and fuelling business growth.

    Research for business
    research with us