Good response to tackling cyber-dependent crime across law enforcement
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has found the overall response by law enforcement to cyber dependent crime in England and Wales to be ‘good’, but recognises there is still room for improvement.
The first thematic inspection report covering cyber dependent crime noted that ‘positive steps’ have been taken to increase local and regional cyber crime capacity and capability but more consistency is needed locally to tackle this national threat.
It highlighted that central funding has enabled every force in England and Wales to establish a dedicated cyber crime unit but noted that forces need to put a clear plan in place to maintain this capability once the central funding ends in 2020.
The Inspectors acknowledged that there is now a national training plan in place to enhance skills and capability and provide more consistency to victims at the local level. It also noted that the ‘introduction of a national tasking process and regional co-ordinators’ has provided some consistency in how cyber-dependent crimes are investigated by regional and local teams.
The report did conclude that there needs to be a more consistent approach to tackling cyber-dependent crime nationally given the cross border nature of the threat. To achieve this the HMICFRS report recommends that the current policing structure for the response to cyber dependent crime should be revised with consideration given to ‘the creation of a national police cyber dependent crime network’.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for cyber crime, Chief Constable Peter Goodman said:
“I am enormously proud of what policing has achieved and how far we have come in tackling cyber crime over the last few years. To have gone from only 32 per cent of forces having a dedicated cyber crime unit to now having one in all 43 forces in England and Wales is a huge step forward.
“While many of the local units are still fairly new, we recognise that we have more to do to improve the consistency of investigations and response offered to victims across the country. Whilst our regionally managed, locally delivered model is a significant step forward, the recommendation from HMICFRS to consider the revision of the current policing structure is welcome. I will continue to work with other Chief Constables and national agencies to make sure our response to cyber-crime continues to evolve and improve to tackle this complex and challenging threat.”