The Portsmouth Cybercrime Awareness Clinic Project: Key Findings and Recommendations

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The Cybercrime Awareness Clinic was a 2-year project based in the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, funded by Hampshire Constabulary. The project aim was to develop and pilot an innovative research and collaboration space to help raise awareness of and build resilience to cybercrime among the local community and organisations.
The project had three main strands. First, the goal was to provide advice to vulnerable groups in the local Portsmouth community, focusing mainly on young people in schools and colleges, small and medium organisations (SMOs) and older people (60+). Second, the clinic aimed to increase the knowledge of the cybercrime threats and risks that relate to the above populations. The third strand of the clinic related to developing a transferable model for the implementation of cybercrime awareness clinics in other parts of the country.
This report includes all the developments and findings generated during the two years of the project. The increase of cyberawareness through stakeholder engagement has been very successful, gradually enabling us to access the desired research populations and to make contact with more diverse and minority groups not initially part of the research plans. For example, we have supported victims of domestic abuse and engaged with community groups providing services to disabled and BAME people. While this has created additional, unanticipated workloads, it has allowed the clinic to develop further. The clinic has expanded its reach in the community, as well as inspiring plans to work further with these groups and others, including the LGBTQI+ community.
The research aspect has also been successful, despite significant challenges in engaging potential participants, especially schools/colleges and SMOs. Through the research, we have managed to provide a clear snapshot of the threats that the vulnerable groups we have engaged with face. We have also advised on improving local practice and changing local processes to assist the different stakeholders involved and our partners in tackling cybercrime threats and helping victims of cybercrime more efficiently. The strength of the pilot research the clinic has completed is reinforced through the combination of findings from the different types of community groups in conjunction with active reflection from our public engagement experience and a review of relevant literature.
Operating as the local cybercrime awareness clinic for two years has been an eye-opening and multi-faceted experience. The project unfolded organically and unexpectedly in areas and ways that were not initially anticipated. Many ideas that seemed great on paper, did not work as well in practice and many new ideas were formulated and realised as the project grew and took shape. The clinic team has developed an extensive list of challenges faced and lessons learned, together with best practice recommendations. We expect these recommendations to inform future initiatives and, although we understand that some of these challenges relate to the particular organisations involved or the location this project has taken place in, we are confident that the overarching messages are applicable to most environments and organisational syntheses.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Portsmouth
Commissioning bodyHampshire Constabulary
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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