Cyber criminals pose an ever greater threat to our day to day life. Meet the officer heading up the elite Sussex and Surrey Police unit standing in their way.
The expert department investigate cybercrimes like hacking attacks on computer networks and data servers, but it also assists frontline police officers in dealing with more traditional crimes that might have a cyber element to them.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson oversees the Surrey and Sussex Cyber Crime Unit (CCU).
“From browsing the Internet on the go, to accessing social media, banking and shopping online, we now live in a digitally engaged world.
“This has given criminals both greater scope to prey on vulnerable people and the belief they can be invisible while they do this.”
DCI Richardson’s team operates as part of ‘Team Cyber UK’, a network of dedicated cyber crime units set up by a government grant.
“For some time now, cyber crime has been a key area of development for us and we can, and do, investigate and convict the people committing these crimes.
“We’ve adapted to respond to the digital environment to ensure we’re relentless in our pursuit of criminals and reducing crime wherever that crime is committed.
“As cyber crime increasingly makes headlines, this new government investment in tackling the issue at a local level is an extremely positive step.”
A multi million pound government investment means every police force in England and Wales now has a dedicated Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) in place to tackle one of the most complex policing challenges, it was announced last week.
But in fact Sussex and Surrey Police forces have had one of these units up and running for four years.
The latest government cash injection means the unit has been able to increase in size, bringing on board a new detective constable and a new role in Cyber Protect and Prepare, to support victims of cyber crime, whether that be individuals or businesses.
The good news is a few small changes in online behaviour can thwart cyber criminals and reduce our vulnerability to cyber crime.
The Cyber Aware website gives step-by-step instructions on keeping devices up-to-date with the latest security updates, and more general online security advice.
DCI Richardson added: “Prevention is a key aspect of our strategy to protect the public and we work closely with our law enforcement partners, at a local, regional and national level to achieve this.
“Crucially, thanks to the national investment, every person who reports a cyber dependent crime will receive contact and prevention advice from police to ensure they do not become a repeat victim.
“If you believe you have been a victim of cyber crime, please report it via Action Fraud as soon as possible.”