The nature of crime is changing, and nationally and internationally there is a rising threat from cybercrime. This was recognised by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) within his Police and Crime Plan, noting that vulnerable people, who were once victimised within their homes and communities, are now being targeted through online mediums.
The Panel’s review aimed to scrutinise and support the PCC in his intention to keep the residents and communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safer through preventing cyber fraud, and focused upon how well the PCC was working with partners to identify and prevent cyber fraud. The scrutiny further considered how the PCC had contributed to efforts to educate and inform the residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to recognise and protect themselves from cyber-enabled fraud.
Efforts made to combat cyber fraud were recognised through the report, with the evidence provided suggesting that Hampshire Constabulary had been one of the leading forces regionally and nationally in its approach to preventing cyber crime. Another positive indicator noted was that take up of victim support across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight had been higher than the national average, with the greatest area of uptake being in relation to online shopping fraud.
The evidence received to this scrutiny strongly suggested a need for greater engagement by the PCC with both residents and partner organisations, in raising awareness of the profile of cyber fraud and sharing prevention messages. A number of examples were brought forth, however, demonstrating that the PCC and his office had made positive efforts to engage with the community and sought to support partners in delivering innovate approaches to do so.
In order to support the Commissioner in his commitment to keep communities safer the Panel has made a number of recommendations addressing the concerns raised, making suggestion upon improving the approach to tackling cyber fraud across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
A letter to the Commissioner outlining, in full, the Panel’s findings and recommendations from this review is published below.