Dedicated cybercrime units get multi-million pound cash injection

Every police force in England and Wales will now have a dedicated cybercrime unit in place following a multi-million-pound investment from the Government as part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) National Cyber Crime Programme.

Apr 11, 2019
By Tony Thompson

The NPCC lead for cybercrime, Chief Constable Peter Goodman, said it was a “significant step forward in improving the overall response to cybercrime in England and Wales”.

Speaking at the launch event today (April 11), Mr Goodman said: “In the last six years we have introduced a robust network of dedicated cybercrime units at national and regional level but we were still lacking a local response.

“Every police force now has a cybercrime unit, which will investigate and pursue offenders, help businesses and victims protect themselves from attack and work with partners to prevent vulnerable individuals from being drawn into committing cybercrime. These units will improve our response to cybercrime working closely with national and regional units. This is a great start and lays down a solid foundation for each force to build on.”

Forces were able to access £7 million of funding this year to build the cybercrime units – including recruiting specialist officers and staff to the units and investing in technology, equipment and training. Investment in the units by the Home Office and the National Cyber Security Programme will continue throughout 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The launch event was hosted by the new West Midlands Cyber Crime Unit, which has been in place since November last year. Mr Goodman heard from the team about the work it is now able to do, how it links with the regional network and what it means to local victims – both individuals and businesses.

Security and Economic Crime Minister Ben Wallace said: “While cyber criminals hide behind their screens, their actions have a huge impact on businesses and individuals. Being the victim of a hack can be frightening, embarrassing and costly. The new specialist cybercrime teams are a vital tool when it comes to preventing this type of crime, pursuing the perpetrators and protecting victims. Crime is changing and so must we. These cyber units, supported by Home Office funding, are a clear symbol of that shift.”

Prior to the roll-out of the units, only 31 per cent of forces had a dedicated cyber capability. Now all forces will have specialist officers and staff in place to investigate cybercrime and ensure victims receive a consistent response and receive contact and prevention advice from police following a report.

The new teams will be coordinated and supported by the Regional Organised Crime Units to ensure investigations are undertaken at the right level, prevent duplication of effort and are effectively managed across the country. They will be able to call on extra support and assistance from the National Cyber Crime Units (NCCU). The new teams complete a Team Cyber UK network working at a local, regional, national and international level to provide a robust response to all levels of cyber criminality.

The new units support the updated Home Office Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, launched in November 2018, which helps build businesses’ and individuals’ resilience against cybercrime and ensures law enforcement agencies have the capabilities they need to tackle it.

The cybercrime Units are also supported by the five-year National Cyber Security Strategy, launched in 2016 and complemented by £1.9 billion of investment. This brings together the best from government and industry to develop new ways to strengthen defences, deter criminals and develop capabilities to respond to cyber criminality.

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