Each of the 43 forces across England and Wales have set up dedicated tech units with £7m of government backing
All 43 police forces in England and Wales have now established a dedicated cybercrime unit, the National Police Chiefs Council has announced.
The creation of the new divisions was supported by a £7m funding package from central government. This money was used to recruit specialised officers, as well as supporting training for existing staff, and the acquisition of new technology.
The work of the units will be overseen and coordinated by the 10 regional organised crime units across England and Wales.
Prior to the rollout of the funding, just 31% of forces had a cybercrime division. One force that lacked a unit dedicated to online crime was the West Midlands, which hosted the event at which the NPCC announced the nationwide ubiquity of cyber-specialist skills.
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NPCC cybercrime lead, and chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, Peter Goodman said: “I am absolutely delighted to announce this significant step forward in improving the overall response to cybercrime in England and Wales. In the last six years we have introduced a robust national and regional network of dedicated cybercrime units at national and regional level, but we were still lacking a local response.”
He added: “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.”
Over the course of 2019/20 and 2020/21, further investment in the cyber units will be supported by more Home Office funding, in partnership with the NPCC’s National Cybercrime Programme.
Security and economic crime minister Ben Wallace said: “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.”