WILTSHIRE Police is now part of a dedicated Cyber Crime Unit thanks to a nationwide multi million-pound investment from central government.

The NPCC National Cyber Crime Programme made the announcement last week, which affects every police force in both England and Wales.

Forces were able to access £7 million-worth of funding this year to build the Cyber Crime Units – including recruiting specialist officers and staff to the units and investing in technology, equipment and training. Investment in the units by the Home Office will continue through 19/20 and 20/21.

Wiltshire Police are part of a dedicated Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU), based within the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU). The force also has two dedicated cyber teams with a focus on child sexual exploitation and fraud.

The RCCU investigate cyber dependent crime in line with the ‘4P’ plan – pursue, protect, prepare and prevent, which includes their award-winning Cyber Futures programme that diverts young and gifted individuals away from cyber crime and on to positive pathways.

Prior to the roll out of the units, only 31% of forces had a dedicated cyber capability. Now all forces will have specialist officers and staff in place to investigate cyber crime and ensure victims receive a consistent response and receive contact and prevention advice from police following a report with a reduced risk of duplication.

The new units support the updated Serious and Organised Crime Strategy launched in November 2018, which helps build businesses’ and individuals’ resilience against cybercrime and ensures law enforcement agencies have the capabilities they need to tackle it.

The Cyber Crime Units are also complemented by the five-year National Cyber Security Strategy, launched in 2016 and supported by £1.9 billion of investment. This brings together the best from government and industry to develop new ways to strengthen defences, deter criminals and develop capabilities to respond to cyber criminality.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “Locally, with the public’s support earlier this year I promised to allocate money to support digital investigation and I’m pleased that this is also being reflected nationally.

“In Wiltshire we have two dedicated cyber-crime teams alongside the regional team, policing is no longer just about the ‘bobby on the beat’ and additional investment in regional teams is welcome to ensure the correct skillsets are in place to address this issue.

“Many crimes now have a digital element attached to them and when an offender can target hundreds, if not thousands of people simultaneously it’s only right that dedicated teams are in place to combat this.

“As the attack on the NHS demonstrated last year, we are increasingly reliant on the internet for modern life, from banking, to GP appointments, shopping and much more.”

NPCC lead for cyber crime, chief constable Goodman added: “I am absolutely delighted to announce this significant step forward in improving the overall response to cyber crime in England and Wales.

“In the last 6 years we have introduced a robust national and regional network of dedicated Cyber Crime Units from the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) within the NCA, to the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) but we were still lacking a local response as part of the Team Cyber UK network.

“The force Cyber Crime Units fill this gap and will deliver a Force level capability to investigate and pursue offenders, help businesses and victims protect themselves from attack and work with partners to prevent vulnerable individuals from committing cyber crime. This is a great start and lays down a solid foundation for each Force to build on.”