Thousands of Metropolitan Police officers have attended online training courses to teach them crucial digital policing skills over the past two years, according to newly released information.
UK-based cloud hoster Nimbus Hosting submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the London-based police force to better understand the take-up of cybercrime online learning courses across the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.
In total, 4534 officers attended the Cyber Crime and Digital Policing – First Responder course over the period, while 4444 completed the Cyber Crime and Digital Policing – Introduction course.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of students in the introductory (51%) and first responder (52%) courses were student officers, although a handful of detective chief inspectors and detective inspectors also attended.
There were also 5804 enrolments for officers and staff on a course called Digital Communications, Social Media, Cyber Crime and Policing.
The stats were welcomed by anti-crime campaigners such as former Lewisham councilor, Duwayne Brooks.
“Building a police force equipped with the latest digital skills is critical for improving community relations in the fight against crime. These new recruits are likely to come from more diverse backgrounds than their predecessors, possessing important insights and knowledge into local communities,” he said.
“By harnessing social media platforms and the latest technology, modern policing can tackle crime in close partnership with the wider public, winning the hearts and minds of young people and the disadvantaged.”
Finding officers with cyber skills has been a constant challenge. Several years ago plans were revealed to recruit more volunteers with expertise in this area. The private sector has also tried to help improve the situation: in 2018 Cisco offered free access to some of its Networking Academy courses.
An FOI request from that year revealed that 16 forces in England had spent just £82,500 each on cybercrime training over the previous three years.
Source: Infosecurity Magazine