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Police in the UK are facing an uphill struggle to deal with modern threats and cybercrime, reports the BBC, with the current methods involving “policing the crimes of today with the methods of yesterday.”
Tom Winsor made the stark warning in his annual ‘State of Policing report‘, where he argued that the police needs to adapt to the crimes challenging society today: “Although performing well in many respects, the police are falling behind the curve of rapidly changing criminality, policing the crimes of today with the methods of yesterday and insufficiently prepared for the crimes of the future.”
“Police officers are a dedicated and brave group of men and women with an unfailing commitment to public service. But the force that many of them joined bears little resemblance to the force that is required now and in the future. The capabilities of the police have fallen behind the crime threat in recent years and these need to improve if the police are to get ahead of the curve of rapidly changing criminality,” he explained.
The warning was echoed by the College of Policing’s CEO Alex Marshall, giving evidence to the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee’s Online Crime Working Group. While acknowledging that “there is much catching up to be done” when dealing with modern crimes that officers were never trained to manage, he believes the force to be taking steps to close the skills gap, including a Mainstream Cyber Training program for everyone who joins the police. A sensible step, given that – as Computer Weekly highlights – “just about every crime now has an online component.”
Marshall said that although the training is being taken to different levels across the country, the Metropolitan Police Service [MPS] is trying to lead the way with its response to cybercrime training: “The MPS has set up a team of specialists to deal with particular aspects of business crime, fraud and online fraud, while also trying to raise the skill levels of everyone else in the service.”
“The MPS’s approach of a department with specialists and dedicated resources, and trying to raise the skill levels elsewhere, is a good model,” he added.
Author Alan Martin, ESET