Jump to content

‘Cinderella' cyber crime officers being lost to private sector


Recommended Posts

Police forces need more funds to fight cyber crime and are losing staff to better paid private sector jobs, according to HM Inspector of Constabulary.

'Cinderella' cyber crime officers being lost to private sector


Date - 24th October 2019
By - Chris Smith


HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS) has said recruitment and retention of specialists would have to be improved as part of a range of measures to tackle a crime that is now costing the UK economy £1.1bn.

The warning came after a review by the Inspectorate into how the police and the National Crime Agency deal with the threat presented by cyber-dependent crime and the wide range of criminals that commit it.  

Its report, Cyber: Keep the light on. An inspection of the police response to cyber-dependent crime, called for forces, to review their capacity.

Although all 43 forces are judged to be effective in tackling cyber crime, short-term funding and low prioritising are limiting their ability to have an impact, the review found. Dyfed-Powys Police is the only force to have made online fraud and other cyber crimes a priority.

Forces are unable to commit long-term resources because of uncertainty about funding because cash from the Police Transformation Fund has not been confirmed.

Adding to the problem is under-reporting of crime by major firms and members of the public. Just one in 40 of the 976,000 cases are reported by the police.

The varied response from forces means the most common outcome is that an investigation is completed with no suspect identified.

The result, according to Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr is a ‘Cinderella crime’ that is competing with other priorities.

Critical to improving performance is retaining and recruiting specialist officers.

Mr Parr said: “Expert staff are being lost to the private sector because they pay better.”

He warned that a further barrier is that officers that have gained new skills and experience in the private sector are only offered to return to police roles at their previous rank or lower.

This meant a sophisticated crime is left with over-stretched officers who do not have the right skills.

Mr Parr said: “This is a difficult crime to nail down. The suspect may be across force boundaries or national borders. If you’re giving this to officers with a basic training and other priorities, it’s easy to understand the outcome.”

He added: “Preventing and investigating these types of crime requires a joined-up, coherent response across regional boundaries.  Having 43 individual forces, often with different structures and responding to different demands, does not readily allow for the level of consistency and flexibility needed.”

Mr Parr, who also has oversight of counter-terrorism police, said forces should consider adopting the same approach: “The police service has responded impressively to a crime type that crosses regional and local borders.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said forces were catching up and all now had teams dedicated to investigating cyber crime.

The NPCC lead for cyber crime, Chief Constable Peter Goodman said: “To have gone from only 32 per cent of forces having a dedicated cyber crime unit to now having one in all 43 forces in England and Wales is a huge step forward.

“While many of the local units are still fairly new, we recognise that we have more to do to improve the consistency of investigations and response offered to victims across the country.”

The Association of Police and Crime Commisioners said it would lobby the government for extra funding.

Clive Grunshaw, APCC Portfolio Holder for Fraud and Cyber Crime said: "Police forces need to be properly resourced and the findings that capability and capacity are often based on available budgets rather than an understanding of demand is a real concern.

"The inspection report has recognised issues with funding pressures and the ability of forces to sustain funding levels when the current funding from the Police Transformation Fund runs out. If forces are to respond effectively to the growing threat from cyber-dependent crime then more work needs to be done to understand demand on forces and understanding of where funding will come from post 2020.”

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like “Expert staff are being lost to the private sector because they pay better.”

They do indeed, around twice as much once you're qualified.  If you're particularly good you can take home even more. 

Civvies don't by and large have the same connection as a PC, to most of them it is just a job.  When someone offers them a wad of extra cash they leave.  On the flipside you have officers who for at least the first 2 years aren't allowed near anything like digital investigations.  So even those who are suitable for the job will inevitably be de-skilled for the most part. 

I'm sure there must be a role for warranted investigators/detectives who go directly down a route that melds together police skills with digital skills. 

Edited by Beaker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps if policing is to really be a business then they could and perhaps should act like one.  In many industries the training is paid for, naturally, but if you leave within certain timescales, you’re required to pay back on the training costs.
I wonder how many leave as officers and then come back as a contractor!  If so, the force could and IMHO should decline to use them.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...