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Forces nationwide to employ extra officers to fight cybercrime


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Chiefs and PCCs agree there needs to be new capabilities.

Derbyshire chief constable Peter Goodman

Derbyshire chief constable Peter Goodman

Police chiefs and PCCs have backed an employment drive to hire more officers with specialist skills in a bit to tackle the rapidly expanding issue of cybercrime.

Speaking at an NCA briefing, Chief Constable Peter Goodman, NPCC lead on cybercrime, revealed forces will look to fill new detective posts and investigatory posts.

The national increase in officers to tackle cybercrime aims to ensure there is more consistency across forces.

CC Goodman says the current situation is like a "patchwork quilt" or postcode lottery for victims with some forces choosing to prioritise other areas of policing.

In East Midlands 20 specialist officers will be employed and will be coordinated within a Regional Operational Crime Unit from next month.

The northwest region, the northeast region and the eastern region will also move towards doing the same in April.

The NPCC and APCC have also agreed all forces will provide basic cybercrime training to all frontline officers.

CC goodman said: “This is not just about specialist capabilities this is about modernising and equipping all of our frontline staff with the skill to be able to do something positive and professional.

“If you think about traditional policing a lot of it is focused around preventing disorder, a lot of it is focused around dealing with criminality, brining offenders to justice, protecting victims.

“It’s no different in this space, the fact that victims can be anywhere, the fact that offenders could be anywhere.

“We have a responsibility to shift and change and alter and morph our policing model to reflect those new threats because we have that Peelian responsibility to protect people from harm.

“We know reporting is going up, we know the complexity of attack is going up, we know the ability of victims to protect themselves is diminishing and we know that it’s only going to continue in that direction.

“The growing gap that we’ve had is force responsibility, what are we doing at a force level to make sure we can provide a professional service to victims and provide a professional competent investigation.” 

Deputy Director of the NCA, Oliver Gower revealed last year the agency had arrested over 200 cybercriminals: He said: “Cybercrime is a very stark example of the challenges we face and the reason we need a whole system response from law enforcement - centrally coordinated but with the right capabilities at national, regional and local.

“So we’re building on the best intelligence picture, we have the most necessary and important specialist capabilities held at the centre but networked at every level – but at the same time victims, no matter where they are, get a timely and quickly response.

“We have built specialist capability in the centre at the NCA –Bitcoin tracking, malware lab analysis tools, data analysis capability that is networked into this system so that policing can access it .

"There’s no point building that at every level in isolation, it would be insufficient and it would stop us from sharing that data which will show us what jobs, what cases are linked and being able to target this threat in a very efficient way."

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I'm not sure why it needs a regionalised approach when it is something that can occur 'anywhere' as it's something which can be dealt with 'anywhere' too. You don't necessarily need officers based in different places when the nature of cybercrime is somewhat abstract. In these circumstances it would make sense to have a national hub where specialists can share knowledge and be the best at what they can do without duplication of the various administrative functions. I would have thought this would have suited the NCA quite well.

Of course, officers can be trained on how to deal with cyber related material and tasked on the apprehension of offenders and suspects accordingly. It does seem odd that a already strained service would take on extra responsibilities.

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