ANNOUNCEMENT – New Advanced Criminology Free Online Course

This new free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) covers Advanced Criminology and builds upon the ‘Food Fraud Incident Template.’ This standardized template for incident data collection and investigation was developed during the INTERPOL/ Europol Operation OPSON meetings and our presentations in 2017 (Dublin), 2019 (Athens), 2021 (Lisbon), and 2022 (Copenhagen).

Food Fraud Prevention: Advanced Criminology is our eighth free course, and the third in the “Specialized Training” category. The need for this MOOC was identified during INTERPOL/ Europol Operation OPSON meetings.

The OPSON meeting attendees – including agencies and the private sector – were consulted on the critical questions to assess suspicious activity and start an investigation. Our presentation during the November Opson meeting in Copenhagen included an opportunity for attendees to comment and recommend edits to the course content and the report template. A follow-up OPSON webinar was conducted for attendees to provide additional feedback. This group just completed a 45-day curriculum review of the MOOC.

Food Fraud Prevention: Advanced Criminology MOOC – From the Course Description:

  • This advanced course in the Food Fraud Prevention training series provides an overview of Advanced Criminology and an introduction to the Food Fraud Incident Template. This course was developed after a request from the private and public sectors because of the need for a standardized template and publicly available training.
  • The foundation of the course is the Food Fraud Incident Template, which is a simple survey that helps gather complete information – or clearly identifies what information is missing, unavailable, or unknowable.
  • The template may seem simplistic, but it is based on criminology concepts, including Intelligence Analysis (Lesson 1), Food Document Fraud (Lesson 2), Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) (Lesson 3), the Investigations and the Food Fraud Suspicious Activity Report (FFSAR) (Lesson 4), and then a scenario for training before the conclusion (Lesson 5). Together, these lessons will create a broad and thorough foundation of understanding that will increase capacity and capability-building in food fraud prevention.
  • The goal is to increase understanding of the problem so that there can be more efficient communication and resource allocation.
  • Specifically, this topic was developed during the INTERPOL/ Europol Operation OPSON meetings and our presentations in 2017 (Dublin), 2019 (Athens), 2021 (Lisbon), and 2022 (Copenhagen).

Food Fraud Suspicious Activity Report (FFSAR) Survey

The MOOC and template are based on the Food Fraud Suspicious Activity Report (FFSAR) survey. The method and process are designed to provide a methodical way to assess suspicious activity. The FFSAR survey was created for a wide range of users, including journalists, regulators, public relations professionals, criminal investigators, criminal intelligence analysts, food authorities, and other researchers. The FFSAR tool provides a logical and methodical review, investigation, and (if necessary) report of the food fraud incident. The FFSAR can be used for organizing information before conducting a criminal intelligence analysis or Hot Spot analysis.

Primer on the Food Fraud Suspicious Activity Report (FFSAR)

Takeaway Points

  • Food fraud prevention is an interdisciplinary science that includes the Social Sciences, specifically Criminology.
  • There is reporting inefficiency since incident reports often do not cover enough information to fully present the problem – the Food Fraud Incident Template provides a common starting point.
  • This free MOOC course provides education and training to understand and adopt the common, simple incident reporting method. This MOOC is helpful for food fraud prevention teams, corporate security or associated investigators, and to recommend for suppliers to adopt.
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