British police have quietly upgraded their cybersecurity skills over the last five years by expanding their training scheme for officers a hundredfold.
A freedom of information request fielded by 19 forces showed that almost 4,000 officers have undertaken cybersecurity training since the start of this year, a huge rise on the 37 who took it in 2010.
Chris Wysopal, CISO and CTO at security vendor Veracode, which sent the requests, said: "These findings suggest how the growing threat of cybercrime has reached police officers working on the beat each and every day.
"It is vital that forces continue to invest in training officers to tackle this increasing danger to businesses and members of the public alike."
Officers trained in these programmes will be able to join cyber teams within Regional Organised Crime Units, which provides support to the National Crime Agency in many of its investigations into online crime.
Last December the coalition government outlined plans for the country’s cybersecurity strategy that included £860m worth of investment over the next five years, some of which will go to funding nine cyber units within each of the regional bodies.
However it is unclear whether the new Conservative government will revise any of these plans following an unexpected electoral victory, strengthening its perceived mandate for cuts to public spending.
"While the cyber security training exercises are certainly a step in the right direction, we’re not yet at a point where there’s a cyber forensics expert attached to each local police force that businesses can turn to for help," Wysopal said.
"Creating this faculty would certainly be of help to the over-stretched national units, such as the National Cyber Crime Unit, which currently handles most reported cybercrime inquiries."