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Police don't understand cybercrime skills of their force

Annual PEEL report reveals that forces need to address the skills gap with collaboration

Police

A report into police efficiency has revealed a gap in the skills to deal with cybercrime because forces are failing to recognise whether existing police officers have the experience needed to deal with such events.

Neither do forces know how current skills need to be developed to address future trends in crime and this could leave gaps in the police's ability to deal with large-scale cyberattacks.

The investigation was led by her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, Mike Cunningham, who explained that forces have experienced big budget cuts over the last five years.

Now forces are beginning to realise the need for investment in skills and although some of the best performing forces, such as Durham Police and West Midlands Police, are embracing innovation and reform, it's something that needs to be transferred across the entire service.

"I am pleased to find that the majority of forces understand the demand they are facing and have effective plans in place to meet that demand," Cunningham said.

"There needs to be more focus on the future, on understanding new and different types of demand and on the skills that police forces will need to best deal with the new challenges, especially in growing areas such as cyber-crime.

He went on to say that the management has highlighted how important it is that forces agree on a consistent approach to data and sharing information and this can only be done via utilising the same technology across the entire service.

Although the police are embracing mobile technologies, forces are lacking the skills to use the wide variety of IT platforms and how they work together. There doesn't appear to be much focus on developing these skills either, the report revealed, despite them knowing it's essential for the future.

"There is still scope for forces to transform the way in which they operate and it is vital that the pace and urgency of change continues if we are to have a police force fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

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