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Brit police forces spend peanuts on cybercrime training

£1.3m over three years? Get with the times, plod

The police force covering the base of the UK's electronic spy agency, GCHQ, in Cheltenham, England, has admitted that it has spent nothing at all on cybercrime training over the past few years.

Gloucestershire Police, whose patch, ironically, covers the sigint specialists' headquarters, said it had just 11 trained cybercrime cops and spends nothing on cybercrime training.

Across the country, police forces have spent just £1.3m on cybercrime training courses over the past few years, according to a survey by the Conservative-leaning think tank Parliament Street.

Top of the table was North Wales Police, which spent a whopping £375,488 on cybercrime training, including putting 147 personnel through a dedicated five-day course. All new North Wales coppers also get a cybercrime bolt-on to their basic training.

Of the 39,500 British bobbies who have received some form of training on digital naughtiness, Police Scotland came fifth, having shelled out just £83,000 between 2015 and 2017.

Norfolk and Suffolk police put no fewer than 3,882 personnel through a “Cyber Crime and Digital Policing First Responder” course, and just under 150 bods through a “digital media investigator course”.

West Midlands Police, one of the largest forces in the UK, had spent just £91,200 over the three-year period. Meanwhile, the City of London Police, which leads the Action Fraud online police initiative for tackling fraud, has trained two thirds (448 of 684) of its constables in cybercrime stuff.

At the very bottom of the league table was the Port of Dover Police, a force so small that most forget it exists. That force said none of its staff were trained on cybercrime matters and none of its budget was spent on counter-cybercrime training.

The survey (PDF) was carried out using Freedom of Information requests to all of the UK’s police forces. The think tank recommended that police forces “increase recruitment of officers with existing cyber skills” and work with the private and educational sectors “to ensure a pipeline of highly skilled workers are encouraged to join the police”. ®

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