Catching up with cybercrime
Friday, 22 April 2016
by Simon Kempton, PFEW lead for cybercrime
According to yesterday’s quarterly crime stats, cybercrime is on
a continual rise. The National Fraud
Intelligence Bureau found that the UK public lost more than £268 million to the
top ten internet-enabled frauds reported between September 2014 and August
2015. These figures are only a partial picture as many cases of fraud
never come to the attention of the police. A Get Safe Online survey found almost one in five people don’t bother
reporting a cybercrime.
The police are playing catch up with online crime as an
organisation. There are pockets of expertise and good practice, but the workforce,
mirroring society in general, is not as well prepared for the online threat as
it ought to be. The threat isn't just from well-organised and funded gangs or
nation states, but increasingly lower level criminals are starting to use the internet as a tool of their criminality in much
the same way as a burglar uses a crowbar. This means that practically every
officer has to deal with cybercrime on a daily basis.
If we want to provide the public with the best possible
service and protection, then our training should reflect the fast-growing issue
of cybercrime. Currently, much of the training that is being done is
National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies (NCALT) computer-based
learning. There are well known issues with distance e-learning: for example,
many officers only find the time to do the packages on a night shift as they
don’t have time allocated for learning by
their force. But more fundamentally, we are asking officers who often have
restricted knowledge or experience of IT systems to use an IT-based training
package to learn about IT-based criminality.
However, it’s a really positive step forward that the
College of Policing (CoP) have reviewed their cybercrime training package to
make it more accessible to frontline officers, rather than just specialist
staff. Their refreshed programme has now been embedded into the Initial Police
Learning and Development Plan (IPLDP) and Initial Crime Investigators
Development Programme (ICIDP). The course is also included in the Police Effectiveness,
Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) assessments, so forces are required to give
staff time to access it.
The CoP’s new-look Level 1 Cyber Awareness and Level
2 Cybercrime for Investigators launched in September 2015. Originally a
five-day, classroom based specialist course, it can now be accessed remotely by
more frontline personnel, there is no exam at the end and officers have ongoing access to the learning
materials so that they can refer back to them whenever they need to. To date,
around 5,500 officers have taken the course – hopefully this number will rise
fairly quickly now that the training is required by IPLDP, ICIDP and PEEL
The Police Federation is going to be working with the CoP to
help develop the training that officers need
and are asking for. It's the Federation's job to make sure that our voice is
heard in that conversation. We need to help ensure our members have the tools
necessary to do their job to the very best of their ability.
For advice on how to protect yourself online, visit Get Safe Online.