Internet hackers target more than 40 people in the county every month according to Northants Police, which has launched a specialist ‘cyber-crime’ unit to tackle the problem.
The new unit, based at Wootton Hall, aims to strengthen the county’s defences against online crime, such as hacking bank details, ‘phishing’ for personal information, identity theft, viruses that cost money to have removed, and the sharing of indecent images.
Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds, said: “People would be shocked to find out that people are trying to get into their homes every single day through the internet. We feel we need a group of people very actively trying to solve that problem.”
The unit, which consists of 28 officers, will investigate online crime and assist police officers in other departments.
Particularly in cases where criminals have used the internet to facilitate drug dealing, people smuggling and a range of ‘traditional’ crime types.
The unit, which will be one of the first regional departments of its kind in the country and funded out of a portion of the force’s budget, will also have the task of making sure people in Northants keep sensitive details safe when browsing the internet, particularly when shopping online.
The unit plans to visit schools in the area and regularly update its website with information about known online scams.
It is set to hold a conference at the Wootton Hall headquarters on January 14 to advise businesses on how to stay safe from internet criminals.
Officers advise people to use a password, keep anti-virus software up-to-date and only open email attachments from people you know.