West Yorkshire Police recruit “cyber officers” to combat emerging online threat

Young people are among the most likely victims of online crime
Young people are among the most likely victims of online crime

Specialist “cyber officers” are being recruited by West Yorkshire Police as a campaign is launched to raise awareness of the spiralling threat of online crime.

The force is making a number of two-year appointments for a new unit set up to target the “rapidly expanding” network of technologically-savvy fraudsters, bullies, groomers and hackers.

The recruits – paid up to £28,389 and expected to be in position by the end of next month – will be responsible for providing tactical support and advice to cyber crime investigators as well as developing new technology and strategies.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Williams, West Yorkshire Police’s cyber crime lead, said: “This area of criminality is rapidly expanding and the establishment of a cyber crime team puts us in the best position to combat this emerging threat.

“The new team will be led by a detective inspector, who’s already in place, with a detective sergeant expected to be appointed shortly and six specialist support staff.

“The detailed knowledge provided by this team will significantly enhance our current expertise across all areas of cyber criminality.”

The recruitment drive coincides with a week-long campaign to raise awareness over the dangers of cyber crime.

As part of the campaign, the force has set up a dedicated web page and is focusing on various aspects of the issue, from online bullying and trolling to commercial cyber attacks, fraud and internet grooming.

Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said: “Cyber crime can be seen as a faceless crime that occurs in an online world but the reality is very different.

“So much of our daily business now revolves around the internet, meaning this area of criminal activity is rapidly expanding and it’s essential we do everything we can to protect ourselves from the financial and emotional impact this crime can have.

“We are continuing to increase the training our staff receive to enhance our capability to investigate cyber-related incidents and unmask the faceless individuals that use the internet to prey on some of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.

“Education and awareness is also key.”