Warwickshire plans for cyber crime advisers

16 Feb 2016, 3:48 pm

Police employees will sit within county council team as part of effort to protect small businesses and communities

Two cyber crime advisors are to take places within Warwickshire County Council’s Community Safety and Substance Misuse Team, in a move funded by the local police and crime commissioner (PCC).

The PCC has been receiving applications for the jobs and is planning to interview candidates with a view to get them in place during the spring.

Placing them within the council team follows a precedent set by earlier appointments. A spokesperson for the Police and Crime Commissioner Warwickshire said it already has people in other roles, such as rural crime coordinators, in the council, and that “having them inside rather than outside makes more sense”.

He said: “They will mainly be working towards providing advice to SMEs across Warwickshire. We see cyber crime as a major threat and feel it needs a serious response.

“There will also be an overspill in terms of working with community groups; it’s not solely business focused and some of the advice will be pertinent to all users.

“They will be getting messages out through groups such as Neighbourhood Watch, and helping to bridge the gap between what different organisations are doing.”

Victims and losses

Research conducted jointly by the PCC and council last year indicated a significant level of online crime in Warwickshire. Responses to the survey suggested there could be around 82,000 victims of online crime across the county each year, with around 25,500 suffering some kind of financial loss. It also led to an estimate that around 13,000 people have no idea of how to protect themselves online.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said: “Although levels of traditional crime continue to fall, it is clear there is a new frontier for criminals who increasingly are turning their attentions online to commit crime. Our research indicates that the losses suffered by victims of cyber crime in the county could amount to as much as £2.5 million each year.

“While there has already been a great deal of good work carried by many individual agencies across Warwickshire to try and combat this trend, it was clear to me that a more coordinated approach would prove helpful and ensure that the right expert advice from all agencies can get out quickly and effectively to the public.

“This way of working has already proved very beneficial when tackling business and rural crime where I have provided funding for similar advisers, so I am delighted to be able extend this to cyber crime.”

Action plan

The advisers are also due to work with the council team in developing an action plan to support the Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Place Cyber Crime Strategy, although there is not yet a firm date for its delivery.

A budget of about £90,000 a year has been made available by the PCC to cover the two salaries and project fees.

Photo: iStockphoto/Henrik Jonsson