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Cyber centres needed to fight ‘evolving and growing crime types’, warns PSNI chief

Digital forensic services now at one base for whole of province’s policing

Cyber expertise within police services across the globe need to keep “one step ahead” from the increased risk of criminals exploiting the complexities of the web, a departing national force chief has warned.

Forces need to stay at the forefront of technological advances to counter a “rapidly evolving and growing crime type”, Chief Constable Sir George Hamilton believes.

His comments came on the day all digital forensic services across the Police Service of Northern Ireland were brought together under one roof in the new purpose-built Cyber Crime Centre in south Belfast.

The world of policing came to the province to see first hand the police facility designed to tackle cyber crime can provide support in a wide range of investigations – from recovering large volumes of footage from mobile phones during a murder probe, to leading on complex and specialist cyber investigations on a global scale, like the hacking of a large corporation’s database.

The centre was officially opened on Tuesday by CC Hamilton and Northern Ireland Policing Board chairman Anne Connolly.

“Whilst technology develops at a rapid pace and transforms how we work, communicate and socialise, it also brings an increased risk as criminals seek to exploit the complexities of the web,” Sir George said.

“The demand for cyber expertise within police services across the world continues to grow and Northern Ireland is no different.”

The PSNI chief added: “This centre is just one investment that we have made to keep PSNI at the forefront of this rapidly evolving and growing crime type.

“We have developed the first mobile forensic lab, a concept that is now being adopted and implemented across the UK, and we will continue to work closely with our national and international partners – including those in the NCA and the FBI who are here today – to combat cyber crime and keep people safe.”

Ms Connolly added: “This new centre of excellence represents a significant investment in policing. 

“As a board we want our officers to have access to the facilities and technology that fully meet policing needs in day-to-day service delivery, both to the public and partner agencies.”

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