Cyber crime is frightening. It is frightening because none of us are sure if, when or how we or our children may become a victim; and because the culprits are faceless, anonymous, devious - and mercenary.
Last year, speaking at a conference in Leeds, Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, claimed collaboration with leading academics was critical if the UK was to fight the growing threat of cyber-crime effectively.
Simply put, it’s not a natural field of expertise for officers - and every advance in investigative techniques is quickly outpaced by the criminals. Cyber policing is ‘still in the starting blocks’, a report by Her majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) concluded last year.
Today we reveal how experts from Leeds Beckett University are teaming up with West Yorkshire Police as part of a landmark project to spot - and plug - the gaps in officers’ knowledge.
HMIC concludes offences involving technology are now so common-place that it is “outdated, inappropriate, and wrong” for the nation’s 43 police forces to leave it to specialist officers to investigate.
Recent research from the Home Office suggests that up to around 5.1 million people are the victims of cyber-enabled crime every year.
It is good - and important - that Leeds academia and a police force here in West Yorkshire are leading the way in tackling head on this rapidly emerging and ever-evolving threat that is causing misery and fear to so many.