West Yorkshire Police has teamed up with digital crime specialist at Leeds Beckett University to develop new ways of fighting cybercrime.
The project could ultimately transform the way online crime is policed and investigated across the UK. Academics and police will work together to help train and develop a police force capable of tackling cybercrime.
The University’s Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre has taken on the 18-month project with £640,000 from the Police Knowledge Fund. The project reports directly to the Home Office and is supported by the College of Policing and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Detective Inspector Vanessa Smith of West Yorkshire Police is leading the partnership on behalf of the police. She said that the police were “thriving in this new collaboration”.
“The 18-month project will see us work and collaborate to identify the knowledge gaps in digital policing. We will then work together to tackle these, sharing our learning with the Home Office,” she said.
“At the heart of the project is our desire to protect those who are vulnerable to becoming victims of crime and ensuring that they are safe online – not only the residents of West Yorkshire but the whole UK population.”
Dr Z Cliffe Schreuders, senior lecturer in computer security at Leeds Beckett and academic lead on the project, said: “Our role is to work with West Yorkshire Police, helping to identify areas where they are strong and where they can be improved.
“We have collaborated with all levels of West Yorkshire Police in the past six months to identify potential areas for improvement, and the challenge now is to design and evaluate alternative solutions to bring about improvements.
“A key part of this will be in identifying research projects the police can undertake in collaboration with us, to help improve the way they deal with cyber-enabled crime.”
The centre will also be the base for an £80,000 project which will see it collaborate with the University of Birmingham on a new security education research and development project to train the next generation of “ethical hackers”.