An Analysis of the Prevalence of Game Consoles in Criminal Investigations in the United Kingdom


  • Iain Sutherland Noroff University College, 4612 Kristiansand S, Agder, Norway
  • Huw Read Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont, USA
  • Konstantinos Xynos MycenX Consultancy Services, Stuttgart, Germany



games consoles, digital forensics, FOIA request


There is a body of current research on the technical analysis of computer games consoles to determine if information present might be of value in a criminal investigation. This research has highlighted the potential forensic value of the various consoles depending on the type of crime and the capabilities of the console. There is also anecdotal information, presented in the media, on various crimes that have been prosecuted using evidence obtained from games consoles. However, there appears to be no recent study examining the degree of involvement of games consoles in actual criminal activity, cases being investigated or their use in court cases. This paper presents the results of a Freedom of Information request using the UK Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. The Freedom of Information Act request was aimed at obtaining an overview of the criminal misuse of game consoles during 2020. This request was sent to the 49 Police forces that cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, seeking details on games consoles included in cases that they have investigated. Current results provide limited information on the involvement of game consoles in cybercrime in the United Kingdom. In examining the prevalence of different types of games consoles in police investigations, the potential need for further work on game console forensics is discussed along with possible factors affecting both the data collection and the patterns observed in the study.