Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Arnold today unveiled a ground-breaking survey into the true state of cyber crime in Staffordshire.
Mrs Arnold, who has spearheaded work to show the true extent of the cyber crime epidemic and the victims it leaves in its wake, said the survey, the first of its kind to be carried out in the county, shows the level of crime identified is actually just the tip of the iceberg.
‘This survey shows the number of crimes is at least double the amount Staffordshire Police is currently aware of and that is shocking, because we know the majority of cyber crime is still unreported by individuals and businesses,’ she said.
As Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Mrs Arnold has pioneered a new approach with the creation of an online fraud partnership forum, which brings together a wide variety of organisations and law enforcement to tackle online fraud together for the first time.
She has also ensured cyber crime victims are supported in Staffordshire with help from the Victims’ Gateway, which is unique to the county thanks to the police and crime commissioner’s office.
Key findings from the survey are:
62,000 internet users were victims of at least one cyber crime but the majority are still unreported
16,250 victims did not report the incidents. Of those who did only 14% reported it to the police or Action Fraud
46,000 of those who go online with dependents under 18 have not taken measures to protect them.
146,000 of those who go online have not taken any measures to protect themselves.
The county-wide survey forms part of a cyber-crime awareness week launched in Staffordshire by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis, who is shining the spotlight on the issue and calling for a review of Action Fraud, the national body for reporting cyber crime and online fraud.
The survey provides a snapshot of over 1,100 households in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, where all those aged 16 and over were interviewed. The results give an indication of the current situation and will now help build a clearer picture for the future.
The survey demonstrates that potentially 62,000 internet users across Staffordshire were victims of at least one cyber attack. Of these, only 12% reported the incident to the police and 2% reported to Action Fraud.
The survey highlights a cause for concern with 1 in 5 internet users not taking any steps to protect themselves online. Worryingly, over a third of respondents with young people in their household had not taken any steps at all to protect them from a cyber attack.
Mrs Arnold added:
‘The results highlight the need to stay ahead of the cyber criminals and it is apparent more work needs to be undertaken to combat this ever-growing threat.
‘This research, for the first time, paints a picture of how cyber crime is truly affecting people of all ages across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and gives us a starting point to shape how we tackle it from now on.
‘The way cyber crime is dealt with needs to change and change quickly if we’re going to have a chance of fighting this huge threat effectively and giving victims the justice they deserve.’