Police and Crime Commissioner visits West Yorkshire’s Cyber Crime Unit (15 Jan 2016)

Cyber Team And PCCPolice and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson visited West Yorkshire Police's dedicated cyber crime team yesterday.

Specialist cyber skilled staff were recruited to provide West Yorkshire Police with cutting edge skills in combating cyber crime, and in using the latest techniques to help enhance traditional investigations.

The unit was funded by a £250,000 investment last year by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner and helps enhance work already ongoing in the force to investigate cyber (technology enabled) offences.

It also helps plug any specialist knowledge gaps in the force, assisting in and progressing some complex cyber investigations, and also help officers investigate more traditional crime types using the latest techniques and technology.

The Cyber Crime Team recently helped locate and safeguard potential victims of human trafficking.

The Team were made aware that a victim of human trafficking had managed to escape his captures whilst completing forced labour.  The victim was unable to provide any information about his captors or their location, only that other victims of trafficking were present along with him. 

The victim informed officers that he had replied to an advert for employment whilst in another country and been brought to the UK.  From the limited information that the victim could provide the Cyber Crime Team set about identifying the location where the other victims were held. 

Using their specialist knowledge the team were able to quickly search the internet and locate information online including an address of the other potential victims, all within 2 hours.  This was passed to the Human Trafficking Team who immediately attended at the address identified.  Located at the address were 6 further potential victims of trafficking. 

Mark Burns-Williamson said "Cyber crime is a growing and fast emerging threat of increasing concern for West Yorkshire residents and people throughout the UK. Only this week we have seen a reported rise in the number of crime related to online dating apps and sites.

"Tackling cyber crime is an issue I take very seriously and it is one of the main areas of focus and that's why I have invested this money to help West Yorkshire Police tackle it after discussions with the Chief Officer Team.

"The cyber crime unit are doing a fantastic job and it was great to see how passionate and dedicated they are in keeping people safe and will increasingly become a mainstream resource for modern policing.

"I would urge anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of cyber crime to come forward and report it to the police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040."

Detective Inspector Vanessa Smith, head of the new unit said "The Police and Crime Commissioner has committed significant resources to fighting this type of crime in West Yorkshire.

"Our specialist officers are currently working on a number of cases across the force area and providing expert support to colleagues in divisions.  We have also been working with local and regional colleagues to raise awareness of cyber security among businesses and particularly among young people.

"Cybercrime cuts across all society and as such impacts on all manner of crime types and issues, WYP are making every effort to ensure we are at the forefront of efforts to tackle it, by working with our partners from the public and private sectors in addition with academia.

"By working with our partners we aim to become a leading force in this complex and fast changing field

Are you worried about cyber crime? Tips and information on how to stay safe can be found on  /get-involved/campaigns/cyber-crime-advice.aspx

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