UK police forces have spent just over £1m on cybercrime training courses over the last three years, according to a new report by think tank Parliament Street.
The new Policing and Cybercrime policy paper examined how police forces in the UK are preparing for the growing threat posed by cybercrime. In total, forces across the UK spend £1.3bn on police training courses, which trained almost 40,000 officers and staff.
According to the report, the highest level of spending was North Wales Police, which spent £375,488 on training for officers and staff between 2015 and 2017. This included a dedicated five-day ‘Main Stream Cyber Training’ course for 147 key staff, totaling £160,000.
Other key spending included a two-day cyber course for four officers, costing £2,000 and one-day cybercrime input course for all new Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) recruits for 183 officers, which cost £29,900. A further £52,300 was spent on a similar course for 68 CID officers.
The number of cyber criminals and amount cybercrime are currently increasing, as technology develops and more individuals find ways to hack into devices or large systems. Therefore, it comes as a surprise that the investment is so little for such a large problem.
“With cybercrime on the rise, it’s clear that all organisation’s are urgently seeking to recruit, train and equip staff with the latest security expertise and cyber skills. Whether it’s online courses or specialist programmes, it’s encouraging to see forces taking steps to improve IT skills of serving officers and staff,” Sheila Flavell, COO at FDM Group, said. “These skills aren’t only vital for modern policing, they are essential to support and protect businesses across the country. That is why so much more needs to be done to address the UK’s chronic skills crisis, to ensure we have the highly skilled workers to protect companies and the public from malicious attacks.”
West Mercia and Warwickshire Police submitted a joint response spent the most on cybercrime training, spending £125,633, followed by Lincolnshire, which said it had spent £119,834. The West Midlands Police took third place, spending £91,200 and Police Scotland totaled £83,121 in expenses.
Additionally together Norfolk and Suffolk forces spent just £71,100, including sending 3,882 staff on a Cyber Crime and Digital Policing course, while 147 staff members were sent on a digital media investigator course at a cost of £6,500. The lowest level of spending was reported by Port of Dover, a small policing group.
The report said most police forces are working alone in developing cyber crime training programmes and called for a more standardised approach to cybercrime strategy.
Based on the findings in the report, the think tank recommended that more forces should work together to develop a standardised approach towards attacks, including with schools and colleges as well.Other recommendations included a national police cyber strategy as well as increasing the recruitment of officers with cyber skills already and sharing security training services.
The survey was carried out through the use of FOI requests across all polices forces in the UK.