An exploration of the necessary competencies of professional police investigators for industrial espionage cases in South Korea

Abstract

Most of the research on the role of police in the protection of industrial technology has recommended the expansion of police departments and the provision of education to strengthen the expertise of investigators. However, no research has sought to identify which specific expertise should be strengthened. This study analyzed which competencies are required by professional police investigators in industrial espionage cases to gain expertise. The study used the Developing A Curriculum (DACUM) technique, normally used to develop curriculum through job analysis. The study produced a series of competency items in three stages: (1) created a job model, (2) filtered out unnecessary competency items via expert reviews, and (3) verified the selected items via surveys and focus group interviews. Unnecessary items were filtered out throughout the study. The study found that “knowledge about laws related to industrial espionage,” “case types and modus operandi,” and “knowledge related to digital forensics and utilization of useful tools” are necessary competencies for the police investigating industrial espionage cases. Several non-essential but beneficial competencies were also found, such as “understanding of the latest technology trends,” “knowledge of internal computer systems and relevant organizations,” and “ability to use programs to design drawings or program source codes.”

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Dealing with DACUM job analysis usually takes 2–3 days in a workshop, but it can be replaced by using existing DACUM charts, curriculum development materials, studies, and interviews with current workers (DoFasco 1996; Yoon et al. 2011).

  2. 2.

    Among law enforcement agencies, the Korean National Police Agency is the only one that operates a team that investigates industrial espionage cases. In July 2010, the Korean National Police Agency started operating the investigation team in six provincial police agencies. Since February 2017, it has expanded across the country to include 17 provincial police agencies. According to internal data from the Korean National Police Agency, the dedicated investigative teams processed 825 cases and arrested 2467 criminals between July 2010 and February 2017. In addition, most police investigators have completed the professional training course given by the Korean National Police Agency. For these reasons, they were considered suitable participants for this research.

  3. 3.

    In total, there are 59 police industrial espionage investigators in the Korean National Police Agency.

  4. 4.

    The focus group interview was conducted as a “mini group interview,” which normally consists of about four to five people. This interview method is designed to obtain a wide range of ideas from people from various backgrounds. Its advantage is that it produces more intuitive and easily understandable results than a quantitative analysis can produce (Lee 2014). Hence, this method is suitable for exploratory research.

  5. 5.

    This is the survey link on the web: https://goo.gl/forms/jWPdeJtIJ9Eze8iH2.

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Correspondence to Julak Lee.

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Lee, S., Lee, J. & Jung, J. An exploration of the necessary competencies of professional police investigators for industrial espionage cases in South Korea. Secur J 33, 119–138 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-019-00196-4

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Keywords

  • Industrial espionage
  • Professional police investigator
  • Competency
  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • DACUM