The EU Mission for the Support of Palestinian Police and Rule of Law

Meet our Cybercrime Expert

Our Cybercrime Expert at EUPOL COPPS can easily be described as ‘a smile in uniform’. Esther Sense, an experienced Police Officer from Germany, holding the rank of Chief Police Investigator, joined EUPOL COPPS earlier this year and aside from her years of experience in her fields of expertise, has brought to the Mission a sunny demeanor that is a pleasure to witness daily. Esther is always ready with a kind word and a pleasant greeting, which of course, made our interview with her all the more pleasant.
Tell us a little about yourself (nationality, professional background and experience and expertise)
I hail from Hannover, Germany. I joined the German Police Force in 2001 and spent the first years of duty in the riot police and carrying out patrol service. In 2008 I was seconded to one of the first, newly founded Cybercrime Units in Germany, where I was part of the team building the unit from scratch.
From 2013 to 2016 I worked in an IT-Development Department as a software developer for police related software.
Since 2013 I have been seconded to the IT-Forensic Department. First as a regular Officer for IT-Forensics and since 2020, following a three year course at the federal CID and at university, I became a certified expert for IT-Forensic with specialisation in Linux and Car Forensics.
Explain your portfolio here at EUPOL COPPS
I am seconded by Germany as a Cybercrime Expert within the Police Advisory Section, and my direct counterpart is the Cybercrime Department of the Palestinian Civil Police. My portfolio seeks to support the PCP in their cybercrime endeavours, taking into account the many challenges they face, such as lack of updated equipment. I also support them on a more holistic level, including raising awareness of cybercrime within the population, a topic which is not only increasing in importance, but is one which is of direct interest to the community as a whole.
What do you enjoy most about forming part of EUPOL COPPS, and about working in the Region?
Working with our counterparts, as well as all Mission Members, and building friendships with such a diverse set of colleagues. Operating in a sensitive theatre such as ours, I feel very fortunate to witness different cultures in my daily life, and to call this historically special place in the world home. It is a very special experience, and one which I appreciate daily.
What are the challenges you face, and how, in your view, may they be overcome?
As with any other branch of the PCP, a number of political issues contribute towards the challenges faced in executing the PCP’s mandate on a daily basis. The Cybercrime Department is relatively new within the PCP, founded in 2013. In keeping with their mandate, the department works on a high technical level, which is hardly understandable for non-technical persons. Since digital evidence becomes more and more important for criminal investigations, I am of the view that this department needs to increase their capacities, specially in the forensic lab, to ensure a proper and acceptable way of collecting evidence and to prevent illegal investigation methods. This has to be done not only by expanding the working environment to contend the rising numbers of cases in the Palestinian Territories, but also through constant training in investigation of digital evidence and data privacy to face the challenges that come with this very fast evolving and internationally linked field of police work.
Esther, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with the PPIO Team. Your portfolio is indeed fascinating. Despite the challenges, keep up your positive approach and we are always on hand to continue to support your highly commendable efforts!