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Fighting cyber-crime - locally, nationally and across Europe

March 9, 2016 10:35 AM

Cyber-crime knows no borders, and the sums involved can be massive. One recent example published in the East Anglian Daily Times* shows how wide the net needs to be cast in order to catch the criminals involved.

The local story starts in Felixstowe where it is alleged that a business was tricked into transferring just over £1million into the hands of online fraudsters. An investigation by Suffolk's Cyber-Crime Unit soon grew into a nationwide enquiry, encompassing similar frauds across the country, and the Metropolitan Police's cyber-crime and fraud team, Falcon, then took over. Twenty people from across the UK are now charged with offences including conspiracy to defraud, possession of fraudulent articles, and conspiracy to commit money-laundering offences. One of the accused was detained in France, on a European Arrest Warrant issued in London, showing how European Union collaboration is essential when fighting crime across borders.

The current Police & Crime Commissioner reports** that crime is increasingly being committed online. Suffolk Constabulary's Incident and Crime Management Hub will have staff trained to deal with cyber-crime, referring the more serious cases to the joint Cyber & Serious Crime Unit. A key focus is to ensure that potentially vulnerable people are advised on how to protect themselves against crimes of this type.

Helen Korfanty, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Suffolk Police & Crime Commisoner (PCC), notes a Financial Fraud Action UK*** report which values online banking fraud at £60.4million in 2014, an increase of 48% on the previous year and an all-time high since records began in 2004. She recommends that people increase their awareness of online fraud, to prevent them from becoming victims, and suggests the website: www.financialfraudaction.org.uk as a good source of information.

A collaborative approach to modern-day cyber-crime fighting needs to involve other police forces (both nationally and internationally) as well as the public. Helen points out: "This example shows how important it is for a PCC to work with the police to raise awareness of cyber-crime, to help reduce the incidence of such crimes and to increase the detection rate."



* http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/twenty_charged_in_cyber_fraud_probe_which_includes_suffolk_1million_victim_1_4443234 [accessed 08 March 2016]

** http://www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Suffolk-Change-Constables-County-partner-version-2.pdf [accessed 08 March 2016]

*** Fraud the Facts 2015, downloaded from http://www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/downloads.asp?genre=consumer [accessed 08 March 2016]