Improving the efficiency of law enforcement in tackling cybercrime - A Swiss case

Improving the efficiency of law enforcement in tackling cybercrime - A Swiss case
Anonymity and stiff jurisdictional procedures challenge law enforcement in tackling cyber offenders. Source:


Shifting from traditional investigations, dedicated cybercrime units emerged in law enforcement. Cyberspace evolves quickly, and the domain is sophisticated. The challenge is high to keep the pace. Entities need to reshape their structures and processes, and improve their skills. Within many shortcomings, cybercrime units must obtain an overview of cyber incidents, educate people, and pursue offenders.


Evolving at different maturity stages, cybercrime law enforcement entities are all impacted by increasing cyber incidents and limited human resources. Most of the staff are taming administrative tasks and coping with system inefficiencies. Entities strive to free up time to indulge in analysis and case investigation. An assessment and clear guidance in the matter would benefit and enlighten the future of cybercrime investigation.


As a result, we discovered a wide array of structures, all targeting the same goal: mitigating cyber incidents and prosecuting cyber offenders. The novelty of cyber investigation forces entities to follow a start-up mindset. By dedicating time to education, designing new processes, and implementing tools, practitioners do not run out of ideas. Unfortunately, underreporting of cyber incidents, regulations, and human resource shortages interfere with due investigation. Swiss law enforcement's multiple information management systems disrupt seamless data exchange.

Implications for practitioners

  • Common cyber database: to overcome the disparity of systems and enable a holistic overview of Swiss cyber incidents, we suggest reflecting on the conception of a common platform dealing with cybercrime matters.
  • Community Think tank: ideas and projects flourish in the Swiss cyber landscape. Law enforcement officers, with the support of scientists and engineers, should meet to share innovation and create meaningful tools to help the whole law enforcement cyber community.
  • Mutualisation: regarding limited resources, we recommend that the entities share knowledge and software. In addition, concentrating competencies in centers increases skills and professionalism.
  • Federal level as an enabler: as all fight towards the same goal, we suggest that the cybercrime entity at the federal level continues to pave the way and provides fair business conditions for specialised software and tools.


Aiming to improve the efficiency of Swiss and Liechtenstein law enforcement in combatting cybercrime, we identified six themes from the literature review. We contacted subject matter experts working in cybercrime units and conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 participants. Thanks to their expertise, we assessed the current situation, pointed out shortcomings, and mainly highlighted opportunities for improvement. The data collected was transcribed in French or German. Then, the data was analysed following a qualitative approach with the software MAXQDA. We coded the transcripts in English and proposed a range of possibilities to improve law enforcement's efficiency.