A think-tank backed by a group of UK-based law enforcement officials have published a newly drafted report called “Policing Bitcoin” which aims to standardize the practice of seizing bitcoin from criminals.
UK Police Aim to Understand Bitcoin
Last week the ‘N8 Policing Research Partnership’ published a report that explains how they would like to see UK law enforcement handle bitcoin seizures. The report claims that criminals prefer to use cryptocurrencies in crimes like ransomware, dark web activities and more. The paper says bitcoin is the most favored cryptocurrency employed in illicit activities and N8 believes UK-based officers need to grasp this new technology.
“Cryptocurrencies have increasingly become a common method of value exchange in a number of types of criminal activity,” explains the four-page proposal. “This collaborative project has brought together a variety of experts from different disciplines and practices to explore the challenges posed by criminal use of cryptocurrency with regard to the investigation, production of conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, and prosecution of offenders.”
Frontline Officers Must Complete a ‘Mandatory Bitcoin e-Learning Package’
The N8 police report details that law enforcement needs education on things like bitcoin exchanges, bitcoin ATMs, forensic tracing tools, a literature guide, and a booklet designed to help officers identify bitcoin activity. Additionally, the reports suggests that police departments utilize “Tier 1-Bitcoin experts, Regional Cyber Crime Units, Digital Media Investigators, and Tier 4-Frontline officers and investigators.”
Tier 4 – Frontline officers — All UK police staff should be required to complete a mandatory Bitcoin e-learning package (NCLAT), on how to identify bitcoin activity and who to contact for further advice.
The Detailed Bitcoin Seizure Guide
The N8 Police Research Partnership is a network of policing practitioners and senior researchers located around Northern England. The group aims to formalize regional officer networking and improve “police innovation.” The team has been studying digital currencies and blockchains for over two years and hopes their recommendations will be favored by lawmakers.
“As part of the project, research was conducted and advice sought regarding the legislative framework available for officers to lawfully seize bitcoin,” details N8’s report. “A recommendation has also been made to the Home Office regarding a potential legislative amendment to categorise bitcoin as cash for the purpose of cash seizure legislation.”
The project has identified a number of practical and intellectual issues for further research, namely how bitcoin relates to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Currently, the research group says they are drafting a “detailed bitcoin seizure guide” which provides a full walkthrough for officers on how to seize these types of funds. N8 explains the guide is based on research conducted with a group of international law enforcement partners.
What do you think about the N8 organization and how they are creating a bitcoin seizure booklet for officers? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments below.
Images via Bitcoin.com, the N8 website, Matt Groening, and Pixabay.
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