The Home Secretary’s announcement of plans to give more power to Police Support Staff and volunteers in fighting cybercrime in the UK, comes at a time when cybercrime is on the rise - and police budgets to tackle it are falling. Controversially, Hampshire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary are currently running a 6-month trial of the proposed idea in Portsmouth.
Which leads to the questions: are volunteers best placed to be assisting the Police with cybercrime? And why is public outreach now required?
Fraud and computer misuse cases reach 7 million in the UK – Victims of cybercrime “less satisfied”
Currently, Police Services across the UK are being put under increasing pressure to fight cybercrime. Last year an interview-based trial by the Office of National Statistics, estimated that there were 7 million cases of fraud and computer misuse, from June 2014 to 2015 alone.
There are two types of cybercrime: cyber-enabled crime, where a traditional crime is committed with technology involved; and cyber-dependent crime where the crime itself is through technology. What is certain from the growing evidence, including PA Consulting Group’s Cybercrime Tipping Point Survey, is that over half the public have been affected by cybercrime (53%), with 84% of these incidents being the result of online fraud. Satisfaction with the Police response is lower among victims of cybercrime than for real-world crime. Many think that this gap is likely to widen as the cybercrime rate increases at a time when Police resources are constrained by sizeable budget cuts felt particularly at the local level.
Some Police Forces have taken an approach of recruiting cybercrime advisors to assist in the coordination of cybercrime strategies, such as local engagement projects to inform communities of good online safety practices, and to evaluate the true impact of cybercrime on victims.
But worryingly the crime survey for England and Wales has only just began recording cybercrime, so although Police Forces are already being confronted with an extensive number of cases, the true impact of cybercrime is yet to be fully realised.
Cases involving digital evidence up 21.5% in 2015
The rise in cybercrime figures is apparent in data that 7Safe has obtained from seven national Police Forces, that have stated that cases involving digital evidence have increased by an average of 21.5% from 2014 to 2015. Furthermore, due to limited in-house digital forensic capabilities, the Police are seeking alternative solutions to cope with demand for examination of digital devices.
To solve the problem, 7Safe work with a number of Police Forces in the UK, helping them to ease the load of this increase by offering backlog reduction and special operation support.
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