The Misdeeds and Security Framework

  • What the Misdeeds and Security Framework is
  • What it’s for and who can use it with what benefit
  • The framework in detail
  • Some technical issues
  • How Misdeeds and Security relates to other Crime Science Frameworks
  • The origins of Misdeeds and Security
  • Links to key articles and presentations

What is the Misdeeds and Security Framework?

What is the Misdeeds and Security framework for?

It has several uses:

Who can use the Misdeeds and Security framework and how do they benefit?

  • Practitioners are given a different angle to think about here-and-now crime risks relating to products, places, procedures and systems, and how to anticipate new risks
  • Researchers are given a way of envisaging and articulating crime scripts and script clashes, a technique for horizon-scanning
  • Designers and engineers are helped to anticipate how their products might feature in crime, and then design-in appropriate security

What are the details of the Misdeeds and Security framework?

The Misdeeds

  • Misappropriated – property or data stolen
  • Mistreated – property damaged, data destroyed or locked, people assaulted, self-harm
  • Misused – as tools/ weapons for crime to support a specific Modus Operandi, or to be consumed as illegal drugs; includes countermeasures against police or forensic tactics, and in particular those which Mislead attempts to identify people or property
  • Mishandled – property subject to smuggling; data exfiltrated, illegally divulged to third party
  • Misbegotten – property or data counterfeited, illegally copied (more recent addition thanks to Ken Pease)
  • Misbehaved with – items used in disorder (e.g. spraycans, fireworks) or creating an environment conducive to disorder

In each of the above cases where the targets, settings and resources for crime are persons, physical goods and buildings, means of payment, physical environments or electronic systems, intellectual property or information.

The misdeeds can constitute crimes in themselves (e.g. Misappropriation = theft) or subsidiary actions (e.g. Misuse of a tool in supporting a Misappropriation).

Additional ‘Mis’ categories

Additional ‘Mis’ labels do not so much represent intentional behaviour; rather, they cover undesirable consequences of criminal or security actions:

  • Mistaken – errors are also made by public or police which whilst not illegal serve to constrain or misdirect crime reduction activity (e.g. false alarms, arresting the wrong person – this is obviously central to the technology of sensor systems), whether in preventing or reacting to crime; serious mistakes can of course lead to Miscarriages of justice
  • Mistrusted – where for example, individual or corporate victims of crime do not report the incidents to the police due to antipathy, or reasoned judgement that there are risks such as disclosure to media or witness intimidation. The negative consequences include not just individual crimes not dealt with, but police lacking a strategic picture of the nature and extent of a given problem
  • Misaligned – having unintended adverse side effects, e.g. on privacy and other Human Rights, exacerbating fear, or creating stigma
  • Mishap – accidental damage, not criminally caused, but which may reduce resistance to crime

The Security (S) opportunities

The S categories of the Misdeeds and Security framework identify how the product, place etc of interest might be exploited by the security side to make persons, physical goods and buildings, means of payment, environments or information:

  • Secured against misappropriation – resistant to theft, indicating that theft has happened, or recoverable/ restorable to owner
  • Safeguarded against mistreatment – resistant to, fail-safe in, or indicative of damage
  • Shielded against misuse – resistant to misuse, including for attacks on law enforcers, or indicative of misuse, including tamper-evidence
  • Supporting – justice/ crime reduction/ community safety, covering:
    • Supporting law enforcement – e.g. facilitating arrest/immobilisation
    • Supporting detection – e.g. forensics, identification
    • Supporting punishment – e.g. tagging/ curfewing of offenders
    • Supporting emergency action – covering response to accidents etc
    • Supporting police-public relations – e.g. IT-based tracking/ maintenance of contacts
    • Supporting reassurance – e.g. surveillance technology
  • Scam-proofed – resistant to or indicative of fraud/ counterfeiting/ smuggling
  • ‘S’ivilised – environment resistant or repellent to misbehaviour and conducive to good behaviour
  • Slip-proofed – resistant to mistakes
  • ‘Sertain’ to report
  • Straightening adverse side-effects

Note that some crime reduction opportunities and crime risks emerge, not from a single product etc, but from two or more in combination – for example, a new ceramic gun with a new propellant bypassing multiple security detector systems. These pose particular challenges in that knowledge from two technological or scientific fields, plus consideration of crime opportunities and risks, must get into one head, or one interacting group.

A technical issue: counter-countermeasures

How does Misdeeds and Security relate to other frameworks?

How did the Misdeeds and Security framework originate?

The demand for the Misdeeds and Security framework arose from work to systematically and rigorously identify future crime risks and crime prevention opportunities posed by advances in hard science and technology (a need identified by the England & Wales Police Science and Technology Strategy Group in 2002), in the context of a growing governmental and police interest in ‘crime futures’ more generally.

A multidisciplinary group of scientists, social scientists, engineers, forensic scientists, and police, chaired by the UK Home Office, used and refined Misdeeds and Security to review candidate scientific and technological innovations suspected of having crime implications, identify significant ones for further investigation and report to the Strategy Group with recommendations for action or inaction as appropriate. The wider purpose was to ‘alert, motivate and empower’ scientists, technologists and designers to ‘think thief’, to recruit them as ‘scouts’ to spot crime risks/ preventive opportunities within their diverse fields and to inform the design of new tools and technologies for preventing crime.



The Misdeeds and Security Framework is explained particularly in: