Crime statistics in England and Wales to include cyber-crime and cyber fraud.
It was recently reported in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that crime had fallen to under 7 million offences in the year ended June 2015 from its peak of 19 million in 1995. The question is has crime actually fallen, or has it taken a different form? The newer forms of crime which involve fraud and cyber-crime are not currently included in these figures and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have been working on ways to improve the statistics available for these types of crime.
Estimated 2.5m incidents of crime falling under Computer Misuse Act
It was estimated by the CSEW that there were over 2.5m incidents of crime falling under the Computer Misuse Act, through unauthorised access to personal information(including hacking) and computer viruses, in the field trial they conducted between May and August 2015.
It is estimated that the actual statistics for cyber related crime is significantly higher than that recorded by the police because cases actually reported will not include those where there is no harm or loss. These would include cases where losses are reimbursed by banks for example, and cases where no harm has been caused(receiving a phishing email but not actually acting on it).
As members of The South West Cyber Security Cluster, we were invited to the Devon and Cornwall Police Force Internet Crime Investigation Team today to understand how, as a group, we can help educate our local community about the cyber threats and how to protect against, and prevent these types of crimes.
Action Fraud: The importance of reporting cyber-crime and fraud
We had the opportunity to learn more about Action Fraud – The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre- and the importance of reporting cyber crime to assist the police to identify current trends. Their strategy around cyber crime was prepare and protect the public to enable them to prevent these crimes. Current trends indicate that cyber crime may become the mainstream form of crime over the next few years. Currently in Devon and Cornwall cyber crime represents approximately 11-12% of overall crime. However, this is only actual crime reported, and in itself is estimated as only 12% of actual crimes that occur. Everytime you get an phishing email this is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act, as are viruses. By reporting these crimes it helps the police to close down websites, phonelines and bank accounts which enable criminals to operate and to identify what resources and skills they need to put in place to deal with these types of crime.
Reporting on the Action Fraud website recently, Commissioner Adrian Leppard Commissioner of the City of London Police, said:
“Today’s crime figures for the first time show that fraud and cyber crime are the most prevalent crimes committed against victims in England and Wales. Fraud and cyber crime affects every community in the country and does not discriminate by social status or geographical location.
“Every chief constable and police and crime commissioner is beginning to realise the scale of the problem and today’s figures underline that. I am sure that fraud and cyber crime will now feature as a priority in every local policing plan”
“This is new crime in our society and it brings new challenges for policing in prosecuting offenders and protecting victims. Notwithstanding the cuts to police budgets we must find ways of responding to the needs of victims of fraud. Alongside this policing response the UK needs to begin a prevention revolution to educate the public on how to stop hackers and fraudsters from taking our money.
“It is vital that we work closely with industry to help protect society. A large proportion of cyber attacks can be prevented by changing our behaviour ‘on line’ and taking simple steps to keep computers secure.”
If you need further help with cyber security to secure your business against cyber related crime contact Securious