More investment to fight cyber-crime urgently needed say UK police

News by Jay Jay

Police in the UK are keenly aware of the need for additional training and tools to combat the growth of cyber-crime, but they also see a role for technology in fighting traditional forms of crime.

Most UK police officers say there’s an urgent need for additional investment to fight cyber-crime as well as acquire more mobile and self-service devices for greater efficiency in their operations, says a new survey.

In the past couple of years, UK police forces have had to dedicate additional funds, personnel and effort to tackle a range of cyber-crimes such as social engineering fraud, impersonation scams, DDoS attacks, ransomware attacks, credit card fraud and credential-stealing attacks that not only compromised personal data of citizens, but also inflicted hundreds of millions of pounds in losses to Britons every year.

In the past few months, not only have police forces dedicated additional personnel to train businesses on detecting scams on the Internet but have also launched nationwide crackdowns on hundreds of people who used tools available on the Dark Web to carry out cyber-attacks on a mass scale.

However, to continue the war against cyber-crime, police forces will need new personnel, additional training and higher investments, things they sorely lack at present.

In December, The Times newspaper noted that a severe shortage of funds forced police forces in West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Sussex, South Yorkshire and Cheshire to cut the number of cyber-crime and fraud investigators in their ranks. What's worse was that a £37 million black hole in law enforcement budgets caused the forces to dedicate less funds to fighting ‘small amount’ frauds while focussing on bigger crimes instead.

The survey found that a majority of police officer in the country (56 percent) want increased investment to fight cyber-crime, even though many more of them (85 percent) want additional investment to fulfill their most critical need: additional manpower.

This was revealed in a survey carried out by Shared Services Connected Ltd which also noted that about 35 percent of UK police officers want extra funds to be dedicated towards the setting up of big data processing centres which will enable them to monitor crimes more effectively.

As many as 42 percent of police officers also called for investment in new technology to help fight modern day crime, but just a third of them were interested in dedicating more funds to support the use of shared services. This was despite the fact that a majority of them agreed that shared services would help their forces save money and would help improve overall performance.

Commenting on the fact that a majority of police officers want increased investment to fight cyber-crime, Corin Imai, senior security advisor at DomainTools, told SC Media UK that it is not surprising given that the police are the ones on the coal-face of dealing with cyber-crime and associated effects.

"They [police forces] will also be acutely aware of the role cyber-crime plays in funding other forms of organised crime, and of its ability to seep into the traditional crime statistics, as displayed by the significant portion of drugs in the UK now bought on the dark web for example," she said.

He added, "The UK government should take note of the opinions of its officers. Shared services would seem an appropriate way to enable this kind of action, as it is both cost effective and is purpose built to deal with cyber-crime, which does not abide by or operate in regional or local jurisdictions. As a fluid form of crime, it requires a fluid response." 

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