Cyber crime campaign launched (16 May 2016)

West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are starting a week-long campaign to warn about the dangers of so-called cyber crime which has been identified as one of the major 21st century threats to policing and law enforcement.

The Force, which is only one of a handful across the country with a dedicated cyber unit, is looking to spread the word about the dangers of the crime and the devastating impact it can have on people's lives.

Detective Inspector Vanessa Smith is an officer with 22 years experience and leads the West Yorkshire cyber team.

"Not everyone knows quite what cyber crime is and who it can impact on - they might have heard the term but think it's nothing to do with them.

"Cyber crime is perhaps a misleading term which often alienates people as it conjures up images of hi tech computer software systems only a specialist can understand. I accept that there are aspects of cyber crime which can be complex such as computer hacking to commit fraud.  However the vast majority of so called cyber crime which effects the public, involves traditional crime which now has a digital element. This is best shown in how social media is used by some people to post threatening or offensive messages.

 "The computer is rapidly becoming the new crowbar and anyone who has a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device/phone could be at risk of being a victim. However I would like to reassure the public that the vast majority of cyber crime can be prevented by taking simple steps. These include creating a complex password, updating antivirus software and not clicking on unexpected emails from unknown sources.

 "In 2015, thanks to an investment from West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, the dedicated cyber crime team was created, to develop and enhance the investigative capability and response to digital crime. The team also provide guidance and support to officers and staff as well as proactively supporting national cyber crime prevention campaigns to the public. 

"It is important that the public understand how to protect themselves against being a victim of cyber crime which is the reason why we are launching this campaign - to highlight the dangers which can affect almost anyone, but also to show that just by following a few simple steps you can greatly reduce your chances of being a victim."

Since the creation of the unit in October 2015 we have supported 632 reports which include 14 murders, 5 attempt murders, 32 rapes, 135 sexual reports and supported 100 missing people enquires. As well as supporting a wide arrange of other crime and national cyber crime prevention campaigns. 

Mark Burns-Williamson said "Cyber crime is a key threat to our communities and that is why I made funding available to create the Cyber Unit. I visited the Team recently and I can't speak highly enough about their dedication and professionalism, they are doing some truly excellent work to safeguard people in West Yorkshire.

"I will be consulting very shortly on priorities for the new Police and Crime Plan, but I'm sure cyber crime will definitely feature.

"I would urge anyone who thinks they may have been a victim, or anyone that would like some advice on staying safe online, to contact West Yorkshire Police."

 "Cyber crime really can affect almost anyone - it doesn't respect traditional borders and cut across all types of criminality," added D.I Smith.

"Although the cyber unit is still a relatively young team with a lot of cases still going through the courts we have seen a number of different types of cyber crime.

"From people being defrauded on dating applications to others clicking on links they have no reason to open, the range is considerable. It is important to get the message across that no matter who you are you could be at risk from cyber crime but by exercising a common sense approach you can greatly reduce your chances of being a victim of cyber crime

Top five suggestions :

  • Create a complex password
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date
  • Do not click on unexpected emails from unknown sources
  • Download software or data from trusted sites
  • Do not disclose personal information to untrusted sources

"To reinforce this we will be holding a series of webchats to get the message out to as many people as possible.

"We are holding our first one tomorrow (Tuesday 17 May) which is aimed at everyone - so if you have any concerns about cyber crime then please get involved and we will try and answer every question. Even if we don't manage it there and then we will respond afterwards."

To join the webchat visit:

Further webchats will be held in the coming weeks which will be publicised on our website and social media channels.

Read more about Cyber Crime on the dedicated "Block The Web Monsters" pages.

Click the below links to download the Web Monsters posters.
Spider poster  (586KB) Octopus poster (308KB) Roach poster  (586KB)
Cyberposter Cyberocto Cyberspam


Mbwvid Vanessavid
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