A ‘ground breaking’ specialist hub has been created at Bedfordshire Police in the fight against cyber crime.
The force has merged its departments that tackle online- based crimes to create one super hub, thought to be the first of its kind.
Those heading up the new department, which cost around £10,000 to set up, admit that the force has been on the back foot when it comes to tackling these sorts of IT savvy criminals but hope that the new dedicated hub will help to turn the tide.
Det Supt Jon Gilbert, the strategic force lead for cyber crime, said: “Cyber crime is very much a challenge for the whole of the community moving forward and certainly a challenge for crime enforcement.
“Historically we have, from a law enforcement perspective, been slow on the scene in terms of responses.
“We need to protect our communities and reduce that exploitation moving forward.
“28 years ago DNA revolutionised policing work and I think we are on the cusp of this again with cyber. Cyber is that modern opportunity.”
Specialist teams trained in digital forensics, cyber crime and internet child abuse investigation have come together to form the hub, launched this week at the force’s Kempston HQ.
The experts spend around 80 per cent of their time tackling child sexual exploitation cases, indecent images and the online grooming of children.
They also work on fraud, hacking , cyber bullying, harassment, stalking, revenge porn and other web-based crimes.
It’s an mammoth task with technology progressing at a staggeringly fast rate and more and more people laying their lives bare on the internet.
“With these exciting opportunities comes potential exploitation,” said Det Supt Gilbert.
By the of 2016, three billion people worldwide will be using the internet and today 1.44 billion people use Facebook each month.
Part of the Cyber Hub’s work is to educate people about protecting themselves online and there’s a whole host of information available via the force website www.bedfordshire.police.uk.
A schools programme is also in operation, which sees officers talk to youngsters as young as four about being safe and new social issues such as sexting and cyber bullying are addressed with teenagers.