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New Unit Boosts Unseen Policing To Tackle Digital Criminals

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall and Cumbria Constabulary have launched a new Cyber and Digital Crime Unit to deal with the growing world of online offending. The unit, based at Cumbria Constabulary headquarters, near Penrith, is up-and-running following a pledge by the Commissioner to increase funding to fight cyber-crime.

The unit delivers an improved force-level capability to investigate and pursue offenders and help businesses and victims protect themselves from attack. Crimes tackled by the unit include online sex crimes such as sharing, viewing and downloading indecent images, including where there is sexual abuse of a child.

With changes in society and technology, the number of these types of crimes continue to grow – so the unit are placed to deal with an increasing problem. It covers offences such as hacking, digital fraud and online exploitation. The unit also forensically examines digital devices seized during police investigations.

Peter McCall comments: “It is great news that Cumbria Constabulary have been able to use the additional funding raised through council tax precept to fund this new cyber unit. 

“Increasingly, we are more likely to be a victim of crime through our online activities than at any other time. This is why it is essential to invest in this area, to ensure that we have the technology in place to tackle this difficult and growing crime.

“Traditionally cyber crime is not an offence that people may think of as a ‘day-to-day’ policing matter. The digital world is a dangerous world and the modern threats and risks of online criminals, as they hide behind their screens, faceless and anonymous, has significantly increased.

“I will often refer to the unseen element of policing, of which our Cyber and Digital Crime Unit is an excellent example. The large number of policing hours invested into specialist cyber-crime cases may not be as visible, but is none the less, just as important.”

Detective Inspector Ian Harwood leads the new unit and comments:  “We are delighted to show the public what their council tax is paying for – an improved service to protect anybody who uses a digital device.

“In this day and age, that includes most of us. If you shop online, use social media or use email to communicate you could fall victim to an online criminal if you do not take care.

“Cyber criminals can hide behind their screens, but their actions can have a huge impact on businesses, individuals, vulnerable members of society and children.

“This new team is crucial in order to prevent people from entering the world of cyber criminality by providing early intervention and diversion, protect our communities by providing good, up to date and simple advice to reduce the risk of becoming a victim, prepare ourselves to effectively deal with cybercrime or a significant cyber-attack and finally, we will be in a much better position to pursue those who commit cybercrime and bring them to justice.”




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