Digital Detectives: The Future of Ukraine’s Law Enforcement

May 17, 2024

Over 80% of crimes today have a digital component. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for law enforcement authorities to acquire the right tools for conducting digital investigations. In response, the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine initiated the Digital Detective (D30) program in 2021, aiming to enhance the digital investigative capacities of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and educational institutions.

On 14-15 May, EUAM facilitated a Strategic Session for D30 members, which brought together representatives from a diverse range of institutions, including the National Police of Ukraine (NPU), Bureau of Economic Security (BES), National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU), Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA), State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), International Cyber Academy, Odesa State MoIA University, MoIA State Scientific and Research Institute, National Technical University “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute,” and National Aviation University.

Since its inception, the D30 program has evolved significantly. Initially aimed at boosting the digital investigative capabilities of Ukrainian civilian security sector agencies and the educational system within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the program has expanded its focus in 2022. It also seeks to introduce new digital professional standards and considers the creation of the “digital detective” profession since then.

Thus, this Strategic Session sums up what was developed by now and focused on two primary objectives. The short-term aim was to define a consolidated vision for “digital” professional standards for the next generation of law enforcement officers, encompassing professional competencies and related educational standards. That should be aimed at equipping law enforcement with the skills needed to tackle digital components of the contemporary criminal methods. The long-term goal was to create a vision for the new profession of “digital detective,” considering its potential structure, preconditions, advantages, and challenges.

“The ultimate goal of the D30 is as simple and at the same time as complex. It is to support the civilian security sector of Ukraine in its development and evolvement and to keep up with the technologies used by criminals and criminal organisations,” says Markus Mitterer, Head of Criminal Investigation and Organised Crime Unit.

As the D30 program continues to develop, it plays an important role in supporting the civilian security sector reforms of Ukraine. By keeping pace with technological advancements and the evolving landscape of digital components in contemporary crimes, the program aims to ensure that law enforcement officers are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to serve and protect population in the digital age.