Training police officers to deal with internet breaches

  • Awareness
  • 27/06/2016
  • Latvian Safer Internet Centre

The Latvian hotline regularly receives complaints that reports made to the police about crime committed online have been rejected. 

Often applications were declined as not being serious enough, even in cases which the hotline would consider as being harmful for children. Considering the regularity of complaints received, and after short discussions with the state police administration, it was realised that police officers need training with more in-depth information about internet-related crimes. Hence, the Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) decided to create a one-day training programme: Crimes on the internet.
Training focuses on police officers who work with applications from the general public. The training programme was developed - and training provided - by a forensic psychology expert who has been involved in more than 800 police investigations of cases of breaches online, including sexual harassment and cyberbullying where the victims were children. The goal of the training programme is to foster understanding and develop skills to respond adequately to violence and other crimes on the internet.
Training focuses on several objectives:
  • Foster an understanding of what sexual assaults on the internet and cyberbullying crimes are.
  • Understand the motivation of perpetrators.
  • Comprehend the consequences for victims of internet crimes.
  • Develop skills to react to violent crimes on the internet.
The training programme content covers:
  1. Opportunities on the internet
  2. Harmful and illegal online content
  3. Sexual assault crimes on the internet:

       a. General description of crimes:

  • Types of crime
  • Offender motivation
  • Description of criminal behaviours
       b. Legal interpretation of:
  • Distribution of pornographic materials
  • Molestation
  • Leading to depravity
       c. General description of criminal assaults:
  • Evaluation of pornographic materials
  • Stages of molestation and leading to depravity
       d. General description of offender
       e. Description of consequences for victims
   4. Cyberbullying crimes:
       a. Types of crimes
       b. General description of crimes
       c. Legal explanation of the crimes
  • Emotional violence on the internet
  • Threats to commit murder or serious physical harm
       d. Non-legal description of crimes
       e. Description of the offender
       f. Description of crime impact and consequences for victims
Training took place in four main regions of Latvia and in Riga. In total, 120 police officers participated in trainings. Feedback collected from participants showed that the content of the training was very informative and topical, while work on case studies revealed different, and sometimes contradictory, interpretations of how the case should be processed and which law paragraphs applied. The training helped to fill informative gaps on crimes on the internet, consequences for victims and the importance of proper investigations.
Find out more about the work of the Latvian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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