Dynamic duo: Police and university to fight cyber-crime

The 18 month project will be closely watched by The Home Office, who are keen to use the lessons learnt here to fight cyber-crime nationally.

 Leeds Beckett University is set to plug the digital gaps that West Yorkshire police face in their investigations. Credit: Dave Conner
Leeds Beckett University is set to plug the digital gaps that West Yorkshire police face in their investigations. Credit: Dave Conner

The West Yorkshire Police (WYP) and Leeds Beckett University are to team up to fight cyber-crime.

As part of a £640,000 project, members of the Leeds Beckett University's Cyber-crime and Security Innovation Centre, also known as the CSI Centre, will be training police to better tackle cyber-crime and cyber-enabled crime.

The 18-month project will allow security researchers at the university to closely look at the operations of law enforcement and law enforcement to look at the gaps in cyber-crime investigations.

Dr Z Cliffe Schreuders, senior lecturer in Computer Security at Leeds Beckett university told press that: “Cyber-enabled crime is a rapidly emerging and ever-evolving threat. As technology changes and improves, so do the criminals – which is why the work we're doing with WYP is ambitious and challenging.”

Schreuders added: “Our role is to work with West Yorkshire Police, helping to identify areas where they are strong and where they can be improved. We have collaborated with all levels of WYP in the last six months to identify potential areas for improvement and the challenge now is to design and evaluate alternative solutions – to bring about improvements.”

The results will be shared with the home office. That data will help to contribute to the national policing effort to the problem of cyber-crime which, even now, seems to be eclipsing the efforts of old fashioned, ‘real-life' criminals.

Some in the industry have been sceptical about the ability of the state to properly deal with the massing yet diffuse problem of cyber-crime. It was only in October last year that the Office of National Statistics (ONS), began to include cyber-crime into official crime statistics.

The new inclusion showed cyber-crime and cyber-enabled crime to far outpace physical crime in the UK. Earlier that year, the National Crime Agency, the UK's national policing body, released a report earlier that year predicting losses from cyber-crime in the uk to exceed £16 billion.

At the time, Tim Erlin, director of security and product management at Tripwire spoke to SCMagazineUK.com. He issued a call to action to get serious on cyber-crime: “It's time for ‘cyber' to stop being treated as a second-class crime. Despite the rhetoric, real decisions about policy and funding are made with this data in mind.”

Detective Inspector Vanessa Smith of West Yorkshire Police, who represents the policing lead on the project with Leeds Beckett University told press that, “this is a significant investment of time by WYP to ensure that we are the forefront of cyber-investigation.”

Smith added, “at the heart of the project is our desire to protect those who are vulnerable to becoming victims of crime and ensuring that they are safe online – not only the residents of West Yorkshire, but the whole UK population.”