Despite long term falls in traditional crime types, there is growing evidence that crime has moved online.The announcement of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) field trials highlighted the public’s experiences of cyber crimes and demonstrated how the use of new technology and the internet is changing the nature of crime in the UK.ONS revealed that there were an estimated 5.1 million incidents of fraud, with 3.8 million adult victims in England and Wales. In addition to fraud, the ONS estimated there were 2.5 million incidents of crime falling under the Computer Misuse Act. The most common incidents involved the victim’s computer or other devices being infected by a virus; it also included incidents where the victim’s email or social media accounts had been hacked.
This starts to give us a picture of the size of cyber crime in the UK and the new challenges it brings for policing. It is important forces not only find ways to respond to victims of cyber crime but also incorporate new technologies in the fight against these emerging offences.
I am leading for the NPCC and the College of Policing on the work to develop digital investigation and intelligence.In recent months the Capabilities Management Group (CMG), which I chair, has started to move forward with increased momentum.
We have been able to assess the level of knowledge surrounding the threat of digital crime through the National Analyst Working Group– an NPCC working group that brings together analysts from forces across the country. This has shown us that digital crime ranges from cyber-dependent, which can only be committed using a computer or computer networks, through to cyber-enabled, which are traditional crimes that can be increased in their scale or reach by use of computers such as child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Changing crime necessitates a changing police response. Our work with the College of Policing has defined the capabilities needed at force level to ensure that all officers are equipped with the knowledge essential in dealing with digital crime. This will continue to grow with a new skills pathway being put in place to support our officers and keep them up to date with the ongoing changes in the digital world. The updated Mainstreaming Cyber Crime Training is a starting point.
We have also established the Committee for Digital Research and Industrial Cooperation (CDRIC) which brings together key figures from industry, academia and law enforcement to share knowledge and expertise. This CMG sub-group is jointly chaired by police and academic representatives working together to increase awareness of the digital threat. CDRIC has responsibility for identifying emerging trends and developments while highlighting critical gaps in current knowledge and understand. This multi-agency team will be able to broaden the range of advice available to CMG to advise forces how to progress in this area.
The next steps in digital investigation will be finding out more from the front line staff about experience of and attitudes to digital crime and incidents. We’ll be surveying officers about their attitudes to digital crime, their direct experience of it, and their confidence and level of skill in dealing with it.
Digital and cybercrime is now a major part of what forces deal with on a daily basis and we need to continue moving forward to keep up with the digital world. We need to maintain our focus on addressing cyber crime and supporting investigations locally, regionally and nationally to keep the public safe online.