A police unit created to tackle the growing threat of cyber-crime and staffed by leading experts from the world of academia has been launched in West Yorkshire.
The unit, which has been funded by a £250,000 investment by the county’s crime tsar, will use new techniques to target the “rapidly expanding” network of technologically-savvy fraudsters, bullies, groomers and hackers.
Police say it will help plug any specialist knowledge gaps in the force, assist in complex cyber investigations and help officers investigate more traditional crime types using the latest technology.
Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley of West Yorkshire Police, who will have overall responsibility for the unit, said: “The launch of this new team is an exciting advance for West Yorkshire Police and will significantly bolster our ability to investigate emerging cybercrime trends.
“These news officers have been purposely drawn from academia to ensure we have access to the best minds we can find who are experts in their fields and can bring their skills to bear to aid officers across the force in carrying out criminal investigations.”
Police say they are already increasingly seeing cyber-crimes become part of ‘daily business’ and making increasing use of social media, email and digital communications in their investigations.
The Yorkshire-wide regional Cyber Crime Unit has, in its first 12 months of operation, disrupted over 500 web servers controlled by organised crime groups and brought to justice criminals who committed £62-million worth of attacks on regional companies.
It emerged yesterday that more than 20,000 fraud and cyber crimes are perpetrated every day, the first official estimates of the scale of the offences in the UK suggest.
Research found there were 5.1 million incidents of fraud in England and Wales in the last year, with 3.8 million victims. It indicates the category is the now most common form of crime.