The Metropolitan Police and Mayor of London should lead a London-wide campaign during 2015-16 to draw attention to the threat of online crime.
According to a report by the Police and Crime Committee, the Met should identify a senior ranking officer to be responsible for mainstreaming cyber crime action across the whole of the force, and there should be more focus on low-level, high volume online crimes.
Saying that the police are behind the curve when it comes to tackling online crime, it said: “It should also pay particular attention to the extent to which perpetrators are currently involved in other forms of offending, or have been in the past.”
The 11 recommendations also called for the Office for National Statistics to introduce specific questions into the Crime Survey for England and Wales to measure online victimisation and set a deadline for when it wants all staff with public contact and/or investigative duties to have undertaken the cyber-crime e-learning programme.
Roger Evans, chairman of the Online Crime Working Group, said: “We need to have mechanisms to encourage victims to come forward and report online crimes. Not only will this lead to a better understanding of the size of the problem, but it will also give the police the best chance of catching those that are perpetrating crimes. Action Fraud – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime – is still not well known among the public; the Mayor should lead a campaign to raise awareness of the service.”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) was also encouraged to commission criminologists and/or other academics to work with the Met to develop profiles of the different types of perpetrators of online crime that are based in London, in order to help the Met to tailor its response.
Evans said: “Our report makes recommendations which we believe will help tackle the very real threat of online crime head on. Londoners need to be savvy to the large number of criminals now operating from their laptops rather than our streets. We must create a police force that bears down on criminals who feel that the internet is their safe haven.”