Report: UK policing not set up to deal with online crime


A wide-ranging review of policing in England and Wales has found that the Service is not equipped to meet the “range and complexity” of current challenges, including many related to technology.

According to the Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales - as published by the Police Foundation - cybercrime and fraud made up 44 per cent of all crime in 2019. There has also been a marked increase in online child sexual abuse in recent years, with 8.3 million unique images being added to the UK’s Child Abuse Image Database in the four years leading up to 2019.
Other crimes seeing a marked increase include reported domestic abuse, which went up 77 per cent between 2016 to 2019. Stalking and harassment increased 792 per cent between 2012 and 2019, rape by 260 per cent, and child sexual offences by 204 per cent.
In better news, the report states that crime overall has fallen by 70 per cent since 1995. This includes a 72 per cent fall in violent incidents, a 74 per cent drop in burglary and 79 per cent fewer vehicle thefts.
Speaking of the findings, a spokesperson for the Police Foundation said: “Policing is struggling to keep pace with [current] changes, with local forces unable to deal effectively with internet enabled crimes like fraud and cybercrime. More complex crime investigations are hampered by a national shortfall of 5,000 detectives, and up to six month waits for examinations of digital evidence.”
Chair of the Strategic Review of Policing, Sir Michael Barber, said: “Cybercrime affects millions of people every year and yet policing is not set up to deal with a world in which so much crime is committed online rather than in the street. The scale and complexity of these challenges mean we need to think radically about the role the police play, how they work with others, the skills they require and the way the service is organised.” 
The second phase of the review will look at how policing needs to be reformed to meet the identified challenges. It will conclude next year.
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