There is a general view within the service is that attitudes to recruitment need to change.
Law enforcement personnel believe the police need to improve the service provided to victims of cyber crime.
A recent Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report pointed out that police forces were not demonstrating that they were recruiting people with high-tech skills – but there is a wider view in the service that attitudes need to change.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa recently said that he hopes his force can improve in this area.
He said: “I think there’s a lot of work to be done. Practitioners [in law enforcement] need to be made more aware that it’s something they do, they need to apply the same principles of policing to cybercrime as they do to other types, and use their policing skills too.”
He added that the public needs to be more aware of ways in which they can protect themselves against the threat of cybercrime as well, and that both officers and the public need a “cultural shift” in this respect.
The former probation officer added that the extent to which responsibility for tackling such crimes lies at a local, regional or national level is a “balancing act” which needs to be negotiated.
Peter Goodman, deputy chief constable of the same force, recently told a Police Federation detective conference that too many people are let down by police when they report online crime.
DCC Goodman, who is the police national leader for cyber crime, gave an example which contrasted a victim reporting a burglary in which nothing was stolen to one reporting a ransomware attack in which personal details are compromised.
When the burglary victim reports the incident, he said: “after 20 minutes a police officer turns up, within two hours a forensic specialist turns up, the following day he gets a detective at his house, and four days later he gets a PCSO turning up asking if he needs any help.”
He contrasted this with a victim of the ransomware attack who is locked out of his computer by hackers demanding money to re-access it.
In the past, reporting this to Action Fraud would have simply resulted in being told he will be sent a crime reference number via a local police force five or six weeks later.
DCC Goodman explained that Action Fraud has recently become a 24/7 service which will now “triage” crime reports and work with the National Crime Agency or local forces who will deploy local resources to ongoing incidents as appropriate.
Regional organised crime units are also to be tasked with investigating more online crime as part of a national stepping up of the service provided.
“It’s improving but we are still consistently letting victims down. If you report a burglary policing is great, if you are a victim of cyber crime policing is not great,” he said.
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