A THINKTANK has found that UK police aren't necessarily the best with computers and could do with a skills injection.
The thinktank is called Reform, and it has a report out called Bobbies on the net. This is a reference to bobbies on the beat, which is an out of date practice in most parts, but refers to a friendly police presence on the streets.
Reform has done some thorough research here, and it says that it spoke to more than "40 police officers, staff, government officials and experts, visited five forces, held a focus group, and analysed public data," to come to its conclusions.
It says that the police are already struggling to cope with crime enabled by the internet, and that won't change until someone gets some skills on board.
"As crime changes, police forces must respond. Technological developments in recent decades - most notably the growth of the internet - have digitised traditional forms of crime, providing new opportunities for fraudsters, sex offenders and drug dealers. Technology also creates a new frontline of crime, which previously would not have existed," it warned.
"The implications of the fourth industrial revolution are yet to be fully understood. Today, almost half of crime relies on digital technology, and that is likely to rise. Law-enforcement agencies must address this demand."
According to the Office for National Statistics, some of this is quite right. In January this year, the ONS included cybercrimes in its overall crime statistics and found that it had to make a lot of room for them thanks to some two million computer misuse crimes and over one million fraud cases.
David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said that the police need to get on top of this and try and get young people to study technology. He added that this goes for all industries.
"With the rise of crime in the cyber world, it is crucial that the skill set of police officers matches the importance of this new battleground," he said.
"The focus for police forces, like any other organisation, should be on ongoing education and upskilling existing staff. Many industries are suffering from a lack of technology skills, and this can only be remedied by increasing internal awareness and by encouraging young people with a passion for cybersecurity to use their skills for the greater good."
While we are at it, we might as well add that it is important that you use a strong, hard to guess password and don't Snapchat your PIN number. µ
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