So, before I start, I have got to point out that I have zero beef with the police nor the effort that their officers no doubt put into solving cyber crimes, that being said, this article that I just read on The Register is somewhat of a worry.
Top of the table was North Wales Police, which spent a whopping £375,488 on cybercrime training, including putting 147 personnel through a dedicated five-day course. All new North Wales coppers also get a cybercrime bolt-on to their basic training.
As is not really unsurprising, it puts the amount of money spent on training police about cyber crime at a piffling £1.3m over three years. Now, that’s a lot of money for me or you (or maybe just me, you lucky person), but when you consider that in the last five years, the police have spent over £400k repairing police cars that they have put the wrong fuel in it kinda puts things into perspective, the police force is BIG.
I think its worth remembering that just because the police have not had training themselves, I doubt that this prevents them from using contractors who have the requisite skill set to do more in depth cyber investigative work with the police (though in fairness, I don’t actually know if they are allowed to do this, they must be surely?). That not withstanding, they would need training to even potentially recognise cyber crime and you would hope that there was at least a decent amount of training going on for our boys in blue. When you consider the enormity of the task at hand for the police, and the many ways that their budgets must be getting stretched, I can understand why they don’t priorotise this, it often seems like a ‘victim-less’ crime, certainly when compared to others, for example, would I rather someone encrypted my computer rather than mugged my mum? yes indeed I would. I would rather that the police were catching people doing violent crimes against people than generic cyber crime, that being said, a lot of cyber crime has connections to more traditional organised crime and the profits from it can go on to fund other criminal endeavors and that is something that the police should be aiming to stop. I think its a very simple way to look at it that ‘police’ covers all the people working in the police force, there are no doubt people with responsibilites that vary wildly and some of those police will be specifically tasked with cyber, white collar crimes and such like, rather than your bobby on the beat, not that they shouldn’t have at least some training in cyber crime and what kinds of ways it may appear and or effect people.
Before you scoff and guffaw like a politician being asked to drink unsubsidised wine, consider this, have all your staff / colleagues had cyber training? Would your accounts department be able to spot an email that has come from some body posing as the boss who’s in a bind and needs that £30k transferred as a matter of urgency? Is the receptionist going to click on that ‘zip file full of pictures’ that their long lost friend on Facebook just sent them? If not, perhaps you should consider doing that before casting aspersions on our police friends.
I hope that we get more specialist cyber crime officers, mainly, just because I think there is a lot of cyber crime happening and, whilst I am not proclaiming to be saintly (I try), I think the odds are stacked so unfairly in favor of cyber criminals compared to the layman, that I think your every day Joe probably doesn’t even know they have been the victim of cyber crime until its too late and when it comes to SME’s, goodness, cyber crime that could be mitigated against easily could literally wipe them out, and lets face it, running a business itself is hard enough, let alone having to battle with some person looking to take their livelihood away.
Anyway, I think its fair to say that rather than bashing the police for spending this much, I am much more of the tune that more training should be given, but that would require more budget rather than taking away from some other area of policing and THAT is where the problem comes, maybe they can pay for it with all this extra money we will have after brexit…. :S
As is always the case, hit me up on @charlesgreig if you spot something wrong with what I’ve said, or you want to let me know your thoughts, always happy to hear!