Police offer ‘smart decision aid’ to better assess online declarations

From now on, victims of internet crime will first be asked a number of questions when they report online. This must show whether the victims are really involved in a criminal offence. If not, they will be referred to other agencies.

In this way, the police want to better cope with the number of false reports. The police say they receive 42,000 reports every year about fraud during the buying or selling of products. In almost a quarter of the cases, however, it appears that no criminal offense has been committed. This concerns, for example, consumers who did not receive a product because a supplier of an online store was struggling with stock problems. ‘Feeling cheated does not always mean that you have also been cheated in a criminal sense’, says Gijs van der Linden of the Landelijk Meldpunt Internet Oplichting.

When filing a report, a ‘smart decision aid’ will come up with questions about the fraud. This is not mandatory, by the way; victims can choose to use it. After completing the questions, victims receive advice on what to do. That may be the advice to still file a report, but also to go to the legal counter, or another body that can help better, for example. The decision aid must also learn from the questions that citizens enter. Better questions can then be asked in the future. ‘In the long run’, the police can also use that data to see whether there are patterns in reports

The police have been struggling with an excess of online reports for years. Last year it turned out that only a small part of online crimes are solved. Understaffing is a big part of the problem. The smart decision aid can help with that. In a normal report, a detective has to check it, ask any follow-up questions and deal with the report, even if it turns out that it was not necessary to file a report in the first place. The decision aid is primarily about fraud via the Internet. Other forms of cybercrime such as ransomware just have to be submitted in the normal way.