My response to HMICFRS' Cyber: Keep the light on report
Today HMICFRS published its report 'Cyber: Keep the light on' following its inspection in early 2019 of the police response to cyber-dependent crime. Wiltshire Police was one of the ten forces that were involved.
In response, Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Angus Macpherson said:
"It's widely acknowledged that cybercrime is on the rise and I welcome the publishing of HMICFRS' national report in relation to their cybercrime inspection earlier this year. Cybercrime knows no boundaries and so it's important that these issues are being looked at from a national perspective rather than solely at an individual force level.
"Wiltshire Police was one of the forces inspected and I am reassured that we are taking positive steps towards tackling an area of crime where the front line is all too often the front room. Whilst I welcome the fact that HMICFRS has deemed the overall response to cyber dependant crime to be 'good' I echo the sentiment that there is still more we can do together.
"In my Police and Crime Plan I am putting Victims and Witnesses at the heart of what we do - the perpetrators of cybercrime often target the most vulnerable in our communities; the elderly and the young for example. I am keen that we continue to help protect people from becoming victims of cybercrime wherever we can. The work of our online safety volunteers within the Bobby Van Trust is a great example of this and online safety continues to feature within the programme of safety education delivered to children across Wiltshire and Swindon via the Junior Good Citizen scheme. I also fund the Horizon Victim and Witness Care Unit which supports the most vulnerable victims of cybercrime across the County - helping them through the criminal justice process and signposting to other support available.
"Cybercrime continues to evolve and adapt - it is important that the police continues to build their operational capabilities and this is something that in Wiltshire we have placed a particular emphasis on. The money from the latest precept increase has enabled me to provide additional funding to the Chief Constable to put together a brand new Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit that has already seen some great results."
Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton heads up the DIIU and said: "Whilst still relatively new to the force, our officers and staff within the DIIU have been able to access specialist training, and use their skills and knowledge to support with a number of investigations - helping to bring offenders to justice. The recent high-profile case relating to the footballer Emiliano Sala's mortuary footage being released onto social media showed the comprehensive approach we take to investigating digital and cybercrime, and resulted in two people being convicted in September 2019.
"Cyber criminals are growing more and more sophisticated and we, as the police, need to make sure we are not left behind. We need to make sure we are as computer-literate and tech-savvy as those who are out there trying to cause harm or take advantage using new and emerging technology. We also need to think beyond our staff and officers, to show the public what steps they are able to make to take a proactive role in keeping themselves safe online.
"One of the areas for improvement identified within HMICFRS' report is for forces to evaluate the use of cyber specials and volunteers to ensure that they are used effectively. Here in Wiltshire, we are already looking at opportunities to enhance our work with volunteers in this field, and have recently developed a job description for specialist volunteers.
"We would like to hear from anyone who believes they may have the technical skills and abilities to assist us in this area, and in particular from any volunteer who would like to help us to develop and administer a cyber volunteers program. You can get in touch with the team by e-mailing [email protected] ."