It is now estimated there are around 1,000 cyber-attacks on small businesses every hour, every day. That is why Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl and Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Richard Berry stepped- up the fight against cybercrime when they launched the country’s first Safer Cyber Forum at a business conference in Cheltenham.

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As well as advising traders on how to stay safe on the internet, they updated business representatives on the progress the Constabulary is making to combat the threat.

‘Safer Cyber’ was added to the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan priorities in April 2014 following overwhelming support from the public who wanted more done to prevent things like internet fraud and online bullying.

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Mr.Surl said:

 “The internet provides a wide range of opportunities but it also has a dark side which criminals have been quick to exploit. It has made people vulnerable both at home and at work. As a result, people have lost vast sums of money after being ripped-off by conmen and many young lives have been ruined on social media.

“I want us to be proactive in our approach to building a safer cyber environment for Gloucestershire and I believe the business community has a big part to play in developing partnerships that really do make a difference.”

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ACC Berry said:

“Cybercrime is an issue we all have to face up to. It is a key priority within the UK’s Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) which means every police force, large or small, has to make a contribution. 

“The Constabulary will launch our unique Safer Cyber Forum at the event and we will welcome the engagement and support of the business community to help protect each other as we go forwards.  This will be the first of its kind in the UK.

“Gloucestershire Police must be able to contribute effectively to any form of cyber-attack on a national scale and to develop our own cybercrime capabilities beneath that level of threat.”

Cybercrime was one of the themes of the two-day Gloucestershire Business Show held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The Constabulary’s safer cyber co-ordinator and cybercrime harm reduction advisor are also taking part. There were workshops looking at business awareness of the risks around cyber security; practical housekeeping around business protection and the advice available to allow a business to stay up to date.

Click here for a reaction from business representatives at the conference

Another session will explain the Constabulary’s aim to develop a multi-tiered cyber-security forum.

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The six priorities of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan are:

  •  Accessibility and accountability – Getting the right resources to the right situation or problem first time, every time, on time and dealing with the matter appropriately and effectively. Local officers must work with their communities. This priority is led by Gloucestershire Constabulary.
  • Older but not overlooked – Older people need to feel and remain an active part of our communities whether they live in their own homes or residential care. Local police officers must be visible and proactive with all vulnerable groups. This priority is led by Gloucestershire Association for Voluntary and Community Action (GAVCA).
  • Young people becoming adults – We need sensitive, relevant and effective policing to help young people become law-abiding, productive members of society. The “system” must work for them not against them. This priority is led by Youth Support Services, Gloucestershire.
  • Safe days and nights for all – Gloucestershire’s strong night-time economy needs to be better managed, with alcohol-related crime and disorder reduced. Everyone should be able to go to our parks, clubs, pubs and streets without fear. This priority is led by Cheltenham Borough Council.
  • Safe and social driving – People should be able to move around our communities in safety and with as much ease and convenience as possible. The police will enforce the law when necessary, but we will all work to reduce offending and anti-social driving. This priority is led by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Safer cyber – Improving the capability of the constabulary to protect people from internet crime and anti-social behaviour on social network sites whether at their place of work or in their own homes. This priority is also led by Gloucestershire Constabulary.