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DIGITAL experts have been recruited to help police catch cyber criminals.
They have joined a dedicated digital intelligence team (DIT) within Staffordshire Police, set up to carry out covert investigations into crime committed online.
The new specialists could be helping to tackle offences such as fraud, drug dealing and child sexual exploitation.
It comes after The Sentinel revealed in February that the force had established a crack cyber crime unit to catch perverts, fraudsters and other criminals using the internet to target their victims. The new DIT replaces this unit and signals a different approach in Staffordshire to addressing cyber crime. Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “These are all people with significant skills, backgrounds, training and levels of qualifications in digital investigation.
“We have changed the way we think about investigating crime because society has changed the way that crime is committed.”
More than 250 police staff have been trained in how to gather evidence and intelligence from the internet. It is hoped a further 250 will have the training by the end of next year.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake said: “The DIT have got really sophisticated technological techniques to help catch offenders who think the internet is a lawless place. It certainly isn’t.
“What’s also new is the work they’ve been doing with wider policing. We have trained hundreds of staff on how to use things like open source systems, how far they can go on places like eBay to get stolen property back.”
He said the force’s digital forensics team has also received extra investment and staff, doubling its capacity. This means computers and mobile phones can be analysed much quicker.
Melina Hancox is Staffordshire’s divisional manager of independent charity Victim Support. She said: “Cyber crime can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. For some, it can feel like they are facing a powerful and invisible attacker with no idea how or when it will stop.
“Many people also feel embarrassed by what’s happened or that they are alone. This should not be the case.”
To contact Victim Support for free, confidential information, call 0808 1689 111.
Source: The Sentential