Alice Hutchings: Case Study

at Cambridge Cybercrime Centre


“I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet policy makers from different areas raising difficult questions; these meetings never fail to spark a mutual exchange of ideas.”

As Deputy Director of the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre, my research focuses predominantly on offenders –how they get into cybercrime, why they offend, what they get out of it, and how to intervene and disrupt it.

This field of research has inherent and significant policy implications: for instance, we are currently looking into the effects of various police interventions and whether they have reduced the market for online criminal services.

When looking at specific types of cybercrime, I often uncover interesting policy issues. For example, my work on airline ticketing fraud has highlighted international jurisdictional issues about how police can respond speedily to complaints of people travelling on tickets obtained fraudulently, and the issues that arise after they detain these passengers.

One of the greatest challenges for cybercrime research is access to good quality data, so our Centre collects data and makes them available to other academic researchers. Through CSaP’s programmes, I have been able to share this work with policy stakeholders.

Although cybercrime is a widely recognised issue, most policy makers are not aware of the types of associated challenges. One reason for this is that offenders are hidden populations, and there can be barriers when it comes to reporting cybercrime.

Other meetings have provided me with useful learning-points about how policy is made, and pressing issues in government relevant to my own research. I enjoy the opportunity to meet policy makers coming from different areas and raising difficult questions; these meetings never fail to spark a mutual exchange of ideas.

A workshop with Dr Tristram Riley-Smith (Transnational Organised Crime) and colleagues provided a similarly interesting experience of knowledge exchange. Allowing me to speak with a wide range of participants about the data our Centre has made available, which will certainly be of use to some of them, the workshop also opened my eyes to relevant research others are taking forward. Although we work closely with other academics and industry bodies, CSaP’s network has enabled me to reach beyond the “usual suspects”.