Police cyber experts in warning to Leeds pupils

Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s new cyber crime unit visited youngsters at a school in Pudsey today as part of efforts to raise awareness about potential online dangers.

20 October 2015 ....... Richard Thornton, crime reduction officer with West Yorkshire Police's new cyber-crime unit gives lessons to Year 5 pupils Ruth Oikelome, Josh Gudgeon, Aaron Martin and Mia Eddison at Stanningley Primary School about topics such as on line bullying and safe use of social media. Picture Tony Johnson

Year 5 pupils from Stanningley Primary School took part in a presentation covering topics including online games and bullying with the force’s cyber-crime experts.

West Yorkshire Police is bidding to help young people protect themselves from online predators as part of Get Safe On Line Week taking place nationally until Friday.

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Officers have delivered presentations children of all ages about subjects such as cyber bullying, IT security and safe use of social media. Older teens were given advice about issues such as sexting and recognising and protecting themselves from inappropriate contact.

Det Insp Vanessa Smith of West Yorkshire Police's new cyber crime unit.

Last week, the launch of a police unit created to tackle the growing threat of cyber-crime and staffed by leading experts from the world of academia was announced 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 Inspector Vanessa Smith, Force lead for Cyber Crime, said: “West Yorkshire Police has committed significant resources to investigating cyber-crime, but it is equally important that we help people protect themselves from becoming victims of it.

“Our safer schools officers have been hard at work over the past few months helping deliver educational inputs at schools across the whole of West Yorkshire and this work is vital.

“This week has seen officers speak with youngsters at Stanningley Primary school in Leeds about how to stay safe on line and I want to thank the school for welcoming us.”

The officer also encouraged parents to keep tabs on who their children were interacting with on social media and to monitor their web access.