The Police Service of Northern Ireland welcomes the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) report into how the criminal justice system deals with cyber crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant said: “Cyber crime remains one of the PSNI’s key priorities. Latest statistics show that the number of traditional crimes recorded has fallen and the numbers of crimes with a cyber dimension are increasing, with a substantial cost to the economy and impact on the community.
Cyber crime is insidious because criminals believe they can reap high rewards utilising the perceived anonymity and borderless nature of the cyber environment. It also lends itself to crimes being committed on a larger scale than traditional offences.
“The PSNI is continuing to invest significantly and increase resources to tackle this complex crime, including the development of a new multi-million pound Cyber Crime Centre, due for completion later this year, new mobile laboratories to support frontline officers investigating crimes across Northern Ireland, as well as the enhancement of cyber units within districts to support local officers in their digital investigations.
“The CJINI inspection acknowledges that the PSNI’s Cyber Crime Centre, which has been developing its capabilities over the last two years, has built up excellent relationships with our partners in law enforcement, business and academia which help play a crucial part in investigating cyber crime and sharing important information, as well bringing complex cases to prosecution.
“We are continuing to work with businesses and members of the public to increase awareness of cyber crime, of steps to take to protect themselves from becoming a victim and importantly, to encourage reporting of this type of crime to police.
“We do this in collaboration with our partners in the DOJ, National Cyber Crime Unit (NCA), Action Fraud and the National Cyber Security Centre.
“The report identified a number of recommendations including a reduction in the backlog of forensic digital examinations, development of dedicated cyber units and capability within districts and the development of cyber awareness initiatives within the developing Northern Ireland Cyber Strategy, in consultation with the DOJ and other government departments.
“Significant investment and the development of new technology has already resulted in a reduction of forensic backlog and a review is currently ongoing to develop and enhance the digital investigation capability dedicated within districts.
“The PSNI is fully committed to continuing to develop its capability and response to cyber crime in order to keep the community safe online in Northern Ireland; and has successfully developed capability to prevent and mitigate the impact of global cyber incidents in Northern Ireland.”