Kent Police raises special unit to tackle cyber-crimes

A team of four officers will constitute a new cyber-security team which the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate aims to use to catch cyber-criminals and prevent cyber-crimes.

The team will be based in Maidstone and will not only intercept cyber-crimes, but will also have powers to arrest hackers and seize their equipment.

The special team of officers have been imparted special training on cyber warfare and will use the opportunity to gather intelligence on threats, offer helpful tips to the public to stay safe and nab cyber-criminals to prevent future offences.

"Emerging crime patterns and trends over the last year or so have pointed towards a substantial growth in this type of offence and our unit is in place to respond to that. Indeed, Kent Police has received more than 8,000 reports of fraud, involving the loss of some £12 million in the last six months alone," said Detective Inspector Lee Morton, Head of the Kent unit.

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"Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they may be unable to invest in computer protection in the same way a large company can. I would urge all companies and organisations to train staff in cyber security," he added.

The news comes just days after the London Met Police announced that it is going to make tackling cyber-crime a priority. Led by Commissioner Cressida Dick who took over the reins last week from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police may soon undergo new training programmes to tackle cyber-crimes, despite a slew of budget cuts which may hinder the force's effectiveness.

'I would like to see data and the digital world more of an advantage to us than it is to the criminal, and I’m not sure that’s entirely true at present,' she said while talking to reporters at Lewisham police station. Dick intends to ensure that her officers will make effective use of data analytics to fight cyber-crime and nab suspects.

Last year, it came to light that not only UK businesses, but the police itself was facing the brunt of cyber-crimes. Security firm Big Brother Watch revealed that UK police forces were hit by ten data breaches every week, which added up to 2,315 data breach incidents in five years. While most of those responsible were policemen themselves, 55 per cent of them escaped disciplinary action.

Despite the setbacks, the Met Police is trying to fight cyber-crime using its FALCON unit which has been successful in resolving a number of such crimes by using tactics normally used for terrorism. Last year, the FALCON team nabbed a group of British Pakistani males who targeted banking customers through a social engineering phishing scam and made £90 million which they moved to Dubai and Pakistan.