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Lack of Resources Contribute to fall in Cybercrime Prosecutions, According to Reports

Reports show that within the last year, the number of cybercrime prosecutions in the UK have fallen. It has become increasingly difficult for police to tackle growing cyber security threats due to being under resourced.

It is believed that there were 57 cybercrime prosecutions in 2016, four less than the 61 prosecutions conducted in 2015. It is the first time that prosecutions have fallen this decade despite the fact that in 2016, the UK experienced 1.9 million computer misuse crimes. In addition to this, the uses of encryption and proxy servers have now made it ‘enormously challenging’ for the police to track these offenders or where they are operating.

Many cyber criminals active in the UK are believed to be based overseas which makes them virtually impossible for police in the UK to secure prosecutions against them. It is also understood that the UK only has approximately 250 specialist cybercrime police officers, both this and the lack of resources have contributed to the problem.

This highlights that it is essential businesses have ‘robust and comprehensive’ cyber insurance policies in place, to mitigate the costs of a cyber attack, which could result in the loss of critical data, customer details or other sensitive material.

Government research has discovered that almost half of all UK businesses suffered a cyber breach or attack in 2016, with costs estimated to be tens of billions of pounds. These costs could potentially deepen when new data protection rules come into force in less than a year’s time. This will essentially lead to businesses facing increased fines for data security breaches.

Gary Broadfield, Head of Cybercrime at Cartwright King Solicitors summarises by saying:

“Cybercrime investigations and prosecutions cover a wide spectrum and cases may not always be prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act but may fail to be prosecuted under other statutes and other areas of the criminal law such as the Fraud Act. It therefore makes it difficult to access reliable statistics in respect of prosecutions for cybercrime. However, what is absolutely clear is that IT has revolutionised the way which crime is now committed and criminals do perceive that they can commit huge volumes of increasingly lucrative offences with little risk of being caught.

“Although the UK has prioritised and invested in the investigation of computer crime, and cybercrime units have escaped the cuts suffered by their colleagues, the scale of the problem dwarves the resources available to combat it. It is likely that in future we will see increasing partnership between public sector law enforcement agencies and businesses affected by cybercrime who may retain private sector firms to conduct the inquiries that the public sector cannot afford.”

If you have been accused of committing cybercrime offence, it is within your best interests to seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Contact us on 0808 168 5550 or email and we will arrange an initial consultation to find out how we can assist you.

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