The announcement was made at a launch event held by Chief Constable Peter Goodman in his role as National Police Chiefs Council lead for Cyber Crime.
The event was hosted by the new West Midlands Cyber Crime Unit. Chief Constable Goodman heard from members of the team about the work they are now able to do within Force, how they link with the regional network and what it means to local victims - both individuals and businesses.
Chief Constable Goodman said: “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 six 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.”
Forces were able to access £7m worth of funding 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 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
Harry Lancaster from Lincolnshire Police's Cyber Crime Unit says: “We are delighted that the force brought us together at an early stage to tackle cyber crime and the early signs are we are making a big difference. So far we have managed to engage with 250 employees from local businesses and about the same number of secondary school children.
"Cyber crime is rapidly increasing in Lincolnshire so we work hard to identify and protect would-be victims, raise awareness of how everyone can protect themselves and go after those who commit cyber crimes.
"We do offer free and independent advice to businesses / organisations or community groups, so please get in touch if we can help you.”
For more information about Cyber Crime visit: https://www.lincs.police.uk/reporting-advice/cyber-crime/You can keep up to date with the latest news from the team by following @CyberLincs and to contact the team for support, please email: [email protected]
Security and Economic Crime Minister Ben Wallace said: “While cyber criminals hide behind their screens, their actions have a huge impact on businesses and individuals.
“Being the victim of a hack can be frightening, embarrassing and costly.
“The new specialist cyber crime teams are a vital tool when it comes to preventing this type of crime, pursuing the perpetrators and protecting victims.
“Crime is changing and so must we. These cyber units, supported by Home Office funding, are a clear symbol of that shift.”
Prior to the roll out of the Force Units, only 31 per cent 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.
The new teams will be coordinated and supported by the ROCUs to ensure investigations are undertaken at the right level, prevent duplication of effort and are effectively managed across the country. They are able to call on the extra support and assistance of the NCCU, forming part of the Team Cyber UK approach to having a robust local, regional, national and international policing network able to respond at all levels of law enforcement to all levels of cyber criminality.
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.
As part of the wider TeamCyber UK network there is also Cyber Aware, a cross-government awareness and behaviour change campaign, offering advice on staying secure.