A Yorkshire police force says its dedicated cybercrime unit has helped convict seven paedophiles since it was set up less than a year ago.
The North Yorkshire Police Cybercrime unit, made up of three detective constables, was launched to tackle the growing threat posed by criminals using the internet and technology.
Since its launch 10 months ago, it has been involved in the arrests of more than 30 suspected paedophiles in the county, for offences relating to the sharing of indecent images of children.
The unit has also carried out investigations into “black hat” hackers, who use their extensive computer knowledge to breach or bypass internet security.
Two men have been arrested for offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, with one 19-year-old man from Tadcaster receiving a caution and another man, 19, from York, on bail pending further enquiries.
According to the force, the unit’s officers can examine computers and phones at crime scenes, meaning investigators have a better idea of the indecent material on them and can prioritise which items are sent for full forensic tests.
Det Chief insp Matt Walker, head of Cybercrime at North Yorkshire Police, said: “in addition to the already incredible work of our officers to relentlessly catch those who break the law and threaten to harm others, the Cybercrime Unit is a crucial dedicated resource.
“Cybercrime is a real ever increasing threat here in North Yorkshire.
“It needs a focused team of specialist trained officers to assist frontline investigating officers and staff, carry out complex cyber investigations, and be the NYP link with the regional Cybercrime Unit and other external bodies such as Action Fraud.”