Northumbria Police has announced the creation of a specialist team dedicated to tackling cyber criminals.
The force’s Cyber Crime Unit has been up and running for several years, but a specialist team dedicated to tackling what is known as cyber-dependent crime has now been established to pursue perpetrators and offer more support to those affected by the devastating consequences of offences such as hacking.
It is made up of a Detective Sergeant, four Detective Constables and three civilian staff members, who are assisted by a team of cyber volunteers.
Led by Detective Inspector Sally MacDonald, the team has the capacity, skill set and infrastructure to clamp down on offenders committing crimes such as hacking, malware and viruses.
Det Insp MacDonald said: “As technology advances, people find themselves relying on it more and more, which is why it can be so devastating for victims to find out they have been targeted.
“As we see an increase in people using technology, we see an increase in what we call cyber-dependent crime – crimes that can only be committed though the use of a device like computers, mobile phones and tablets. The devices are both the tool for committing the crime and the target.
“It’s great to see the force taking a proactive step in trying to prevent these types of crimes.”
The team is responsible for carrying out investigations, pursuing perpetrators and protecting victims.
Its members are also raising awareness with individuals and businesses to try to prevent them falling foul of the tricks used by hackers and teach people how to protect themselves in the event of a hack or virus.