Multi-agency partnerships in cybercrime reduction

Michael Levi (Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Matthew Leighton Williams (Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Information Management & Computer Security

ISSN: 0968-5227

Publication date: 25 November 2013



This paper aims to map out multi-agency partnerships in the UK information assurance (UKIA) network in the UK.


The paper surveyed members of the UKIA community and achieved a 52 percent response rate (n=104). The paper used a multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) technique to map the multi-agency cooperation space and factor analysis and ordinary least squares regression to identify predictive factors of cooperation frequency. Qualitative data were also solicited via the survey and interviews with security managers.


Via the quantitative measures, the paper locates gaps in the multi-agency cooperation network and identifies predictors of cooperation. The data indicate an over-crowded cybersecurity space, problems in apprehending perpetrators, and poor business case justifications for SMEs as potential inhibitors to cooperation, while concern over certain cybercrimes and perceptions of organisational effectiveness were identified as motivators.

Practical implications

The data suggest that the neo-liberal rationality that has been evoked in other areas of crime control is also evident in the control of cybercrimes. The paper concludes divisions exist between the High Policing rhetoric of the UK's Cyber Security Strategy and the (relatively) Low Policing cooperation outcomes in “on the ground” cyber-policing. If the cooperation outcomes advocated by the UK Cyber Security Strategy are to be realised, UKIA organisations must begin to acknowledge and remedy gaps and barriers in cooperation.


This paper provides the first mixed-methods evidence on the multi-agency cooperation patterns amongst the UKIA community in the UK and highlights significant gaps in the network.



Michael Levi and Matthew Leighton Williams (2013) "Multi-agency partnerships in cybercrime reduction", Information Management & Computer Security, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 420-443

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