Cheshire Police warned of cybercrime threat


Staff reporter (Chester First)

POLICE in Cheshire are not trained to deal with the threats posed by cybercrimes, a HMIC report has said.

A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that only three forces across England and Wales have the proper provisions to deal with Cyber Crime: Derbyshire, West Midlands, and Lincolnshire.

Cheshire police must begin to tackle cybercrime to prevent more people being affected by crimes such as fraud or hacking, as well as an increase in online grooming of children by paedophiles, which is a growing risk via social media.

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “Cybercrime is a broad term, which encompasses a range of criminal activity. It can be split into two categories, cyber-enabled crime and cyber-dependent crime.

“Cyber-enabled crime is a crime that fits into another category and would have previously been committed without the use of the internet. An example of this would be people grooming youngsters.

“Cyber-dependent crime focuses on the cyber infrastructure itself, sending out targeted viruses and Trojan horses to commit the crime.”

Fifteen police forces had considered cybercrimes within their Strategic Assessment (STRA). The West Midlands Strategic Assessment was considered particularly good as it detailed the nature of cyber threats they may have and how they would deal with them but the report said that the rest, including Cheshire, were not particularly good.

In 2012 the police made cybercrimes a key part of their Strategic Policing Requirements and since then the HMIC report found that only seven per cent of the police forces in England and Wales are adequately prepared for cybercrimes
Stephen Mosley, Chester MP, said: “Cybercrime doesn’t just threaten governments and companies – it’s a threat to every single one of us.

“We need to adapt our security and policing methods to keep on the front foot against those who would use the internet to attack or steal from us.

“This report demonstrates the importance of sharing a common definition of cybercrime and being very clear about who is responsible for tackling it. Our police forces need to be of one mind in overcoming this challenge. I was delighted to see cybercrime feature in John Dwyer’s Police And Crime Plan for Cheshire and I’m determined to use my role as an MP with an IT background to keep cyber security on the agenda.”

They found that only two per cent of officers across the 37 forces involved were trained to  investigate cybercrimes. The College of Policing are looking at how officers are trained to cope with cybercrimes.

In 2013 Cheshire Police found themselves victim of a ‘malware scam’, known as the Ukash Scam, in which users were locked out of their computer and asked to pay money to the Cheshire Constabulary in order to use their machine.

The HMIC report came to the conclusion that police forces across England and Wales were not only unable to deal with the level of threat or harm posed by cybercrime but they were also unaware of the potential risks that come from computer crime.

It also concluded that, as laid out in the Strategic Policing Requirement, the police response to cyber-related threats need to be developed and that the police are being left behind by the digital innovations.

At the time of writing Cheshire Police were unable to offer a comment on the HMIC report.'

See full story in the Chester Leader

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