If you live in Denmark, your activities on game and social media apps are taking a new dimension, as police monitoring increase on the internet.
They stroll into groups announce their presence and express their readiness to chat with people having issues they want to report to the police.
Call it a future of crime-free internet and you may be right.
Officers at the Danish police headquarters have been riveted to their computers, playing the famous video game Counter-Strike.
But they weren’t taking a break; they were investigating crimes on the internet.
In addition to being paid to play video games, the Denmark online police unit may be found on Twitch, Discord, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
It is making its existence known openly in order to make the internet a safer place for both children and adults.
Police On The Internet
When on internet patrol, they are dressed in uniform and their major targets are sexual predators and economic offenders.
The 10-person unit was formed last year in response to an increase in cyber criminality during the Covid pandemic lockdown.
Sisse Birkebaek, the patrol’s chief, stated: “The same way you see a police car driving around in the streets, you can see a police officer with an official name in the online universe”.
Miriam Michaelsen, a lawyer and the creator of the Digital Responsibility organisation, has long advocated for law enforcement to monitor the internet.
“When you talk to young people, they don’t see a difference between the physical world and the digital world, with one exception: they see police all the time on the streets,” she explained.
“When you see police driving by, it can have an effect on both victims and offenders… It’s the same on the internet.”
“Politiets Online Patrulje” has opened more than 65 cases since its inception in April 2022.
“We see a lot of grooming and attempts to harass young people, take their money, and stealing schemes in the gaming community as well,” Birkebaek added.
Jeppe Rimer Torup and his coworkers play CS:GO, FIFA, and Fortnite several times every month.
They game, observe, and establish contacts under the aliases “Officer 1” through “Officer 4”, exactly as if they were on a typical neighbourhood patrol in person.
“We say on Twitch, ‘Hey, we’re two officers playing, we need three volunteers from the chat.”
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“You can come and play with us,” officer Rimer Torup, 36, said.
“We’ve been gradually increasing our followers.”
They presently have 127,000 TikTok followers, 23,000 Twitch followers, 10,000 Facebook followers, and 6,000 Instagram followers.
They are usually transparent about who they are, however, they do go covert on rare occasions.
On a typical day, Rimer Torup explained, the team may join a Facebook page “and say, ‘Hey, we are from the police.
“If you wish to chat to us or have any questions, please ask.”
He claims that it works the majority of the time.
Since they began, the ten cops have received almost 5,200 tips.
In his spare time, Rimer Torup conducts an e-sports group for teenagers from disadvantaged areas at the Copenhagen city police station.
This is a separate interest from his professional employment, yet it allows him to get to know teenagers and their worries.
“The e-sport activity has ten participants.
“And I believe they come because it’s fun to play video games… and some need more of a social life,” he explained.
The six adolescents who took part in the AFP visit claimed they are aware of the patrol’s internet activity but have yet to interact with it.
“They would be too cool to admit it,” Rimer Torup quipped.
“The patrol’s budget is determined on an annual basis, although Rimer Torup expressed hope that it will become permanent.”
Michaelsen said: “I don’t think we can solve all of the issues with digital violence by having an online patrol like this.
“But if we can see that 10, 15, 20 people are being helped in ways they would not have been helped before, then we can say that this has made a difference”.
Another patrol member, Mikkel Olsen, stated that the unit’s work is continuously being altered as social media and the internet evolve.
In Denmark, a modern country with a strong appreciation for the police, there has been universal consensus on the patrol.
According to recent statistics, 87% of Danes have faith in the police.
The National Association for Children’s Rights, according to AFP, has “not experienced or been aware of any issues that have caused concern about children’s privacy.
“However, the Data Protection Agency stated that it had no concerns.
“It’s very exciting to be a pioneer,” Olsen said.