Law enforcement Challenges
Unlike other traditional desk jobs where people work from 9 to 5, law enforcement is an all-day job requiring personnel to be on duty and alert at any moment and place. It offers a career environment of diverse opportunity and personnel, and this underscores the differences, conflicts, and other day-to-day constraints witnessed. The principle role, authority, and responsibility of law enforcement officers, is to maintain public order and enhance public safety and security (Ransley & Mazerolle, 2009). A prerequisite in the execution of this role is that law enforcement officers should engage with citizens while striving to identify and solve their problems. The long run objective is that these officers should positively affect or influence citizens and their communities on a day-to-day basis. Law enforcement is considered a profession that blends critical thinking, tactical response, and interpersonal skill when it comes to responding to myriads of calls for service annually. However, each day presents new challenges to law enforcement officers and agencies that require the application of the mentioned skills in different and new situations. This paper discusses the greatest challenge facing law enforcement agencies investigating exploitation, cyber stalking, and obscenity. Also, it identifies the specific challenges that overlapping of jurisdictions poses in the fight against cyber-crime with a proposal of the solutions for overcoming these challenges. Moreover, it discusses whether law enforcement officers from different states should have the ability to work with one another across state lines.
Of course, the greatest challenge facing law enforcement agencies investigating crimes such as exploitation, cyber stalking, and obscenity is that the public has a lack of trust and a largely negative perception of these agencies (Ransley & Mazerolle, 2009). As a criminal offense, exploitation can occur in two ways, which are sexual and financial exploitation. On the one hand, sexual exploitation occurs when a person abuses either a minor or an adult through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for basics such as food, shelter, drugs, and protection. It could also occur when a person is unwillingly involved in the creation of pornography and sexually explicit websites. On the other hand, financial exploitation occurs when a person misuses, withholds or steals property, valuables, or money belonging for personal advantage and to the disadvantage of another individual. Cyberstalking involves the use of the Internet and other electronic facilities to harass or stalk another individual, organization or group, and may include defamation, libel, slander, or false accusation. According to US federal and state laws, obscenity is also classified as a crime, and it involves an act or utterance that jeopardizes the prevalent morality of a given place and time. When investigating the mentioned types of crime, law enforcement agencies are obliged to work closely and interact with the public. Unfortunately, with the public having a lack of trust and a negative perception of these agencies, sharing or disclosure of key information is difficult making the investigation of the same even more complicated (Ransley & Mazerolle, 2009).
The adoption of technology in every context in society today has seen the development of white collar crimes such as cyber-crime. The increase in cyber-crime cases or incidences in recent years despite the steps taken by law enforcement agencies can be attributed to challenges posed by overlapping of jurisdictions in the fight against the same. In the US for instance, law enforcement agencies or courts have jurisdiction only over crimes that occur in a geographic location where the agency or court has authority. This means that a perpetrator of cyber-crime in one state cannot be arrested or prosecuted by a law enforcement agency or court from another state and this is a challenge posed by overlapping of jurisdictions in the fight against cyber-crime (Stockton & Golabek-Goldman, 2014). Cyber-crime can be considered a criminal offense in that it is punishable or can be prosecuted by local, state, or federal governments. It can also be considered a civil offense because it can involve or result in disputes between individuals or organizations. With the existence of different branches of law in countries such as the US, law enforcement agencies have a rough time when it comes to the fight against cyber-crime. This means that not all courts are allowed to handle issues of cybercrime, and this is a challenge that overlapping of jurisdictions pose in the fight against the menace.
With the above challenges in mind, the most appropriate solution is to have binding national and international treaties on the issue that will ensure that cyberspace is regulated in an effective manner (Broadhurst, 2006). In other words, no nation, state, or its courts should be allowed to monopolize the law-making process on the issue of cyber-crime. Besides, indirect regulation of the Internet may help in the fight against cyber-crime especially for nations or states when their laws are in conflict with the laws of other sovereigns.
With cyber-crime becoming an issue of concern in the US as a whole and other parts of the world, it is important that law officers from different states should have the ability to work with one another when cyber-crime is carried out across state lines. This would be one of the steps taken towards complying with national and international treaties on the issue of cyber-crime thereby helping in the fight against the same.
Broadhurst, R. (2006). Developments in the global law enforcement of cyber-crime. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 29(3), 408-433.
Ransley, J., & Mazerolle, L. (2009). Policing in an era of uncertainty. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 10(4), 365-381.
Stockton, P. N., & Golabek-Goldman, M. (2014). Prosecuting Cyberterrorists: Applying Traditional Jurisdictional Frameworks to a Modern Threat. Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev., 25, 211.