Digital Currencies (2884_16)

Request

Please accept this email request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.
I rely on this definition of digital currency for the request; “a form of virtual currency that is electronically created and stored. Some, but not all digital currencies are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency ¿ is a subset of digital currencies, however, it uses cryptography for security so this makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit” (Gilpin, 2014)

The following questions are focussed on crimes reported 2010 to 2015 inclusive.
If possible, a year on year breakdown is required. Any reference to crime includes attempts and conspiracies to commit a crime.

Does your organisation have a dedicated unit dealing with cybercrime?

Does your organisation keep a record of crimes that involve the use of digital currencies?
If so and your records enable it please answer the questions listed.

How many crimes have been reported to your organisation that involve the use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin etc? This can be where digital currencies were utilised by criminals either to commit the crime or to move the benefits of crime into fiat currency (e.g. government issued Sterling or Euro)?

Of these reported crimes, how many were investigated by your organisation?

How many were transferred to another law enforcement agency for investigation?

How many were `no crime¿ or not continued with?

Have any crimes involving the use of digital currencies been identified by your organisation prior to being reported by a victim as a crime? If so, how many?

How many of these crimes has your organisation investigated?

From your records, can you provide details of the type of crimes digital currencies have been used in? For example;

Child sexual exploitation
Fraud
Theft
Money laundering
Drugs
Firearms
Dedicated denial of service attack
Blackmail/ Ransomware
Malware
Hacking
Romance
Other (Specify):

Can you provide details of which digital currencies were used and the frequency of use to support this?
For example:

Bitcoin 6 crimes
Darkcoin 5 times
Peercoin 4 times
Altcoin 3 times
Primecoin 2 times
Ripple 1 time
Other(s) (Specify):

How many of these investigations resulted in the identification of suspect(s)?

How many of these investigation(s) resulted in successful prosecutions?

Response

We have no special marker for ‘Digital Currencies’ and therefore our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information without researching each individual crime which would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)).

Therefore, the cost of compliance with your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244

A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or section 14 applies must, within the time for complying with Section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a refusal notice.

I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations. I am however willing to consider any refinements that you are able to make to your request however you may find the following website useful
http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/latest-news/news.aspx?Id=2591

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