Only three out of 43 police forces in England and Wales have a comprehensive plan to deal with a large scale cyber attack, new research has found.
It also found only 2% of police staff across 37 forces had been trained on investigating cybercrime.
The report examined how prepared police are for a series of national threats.
Last year, the government identified five threats as priorities for police to prepare for. These are:
- Civil emergencies
- Organised crime
- Public order threats
- Large-scale cyber-attacks
As part of its Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR), the Home Office called for a nationally required policing response to counter each of the threats.
The report is the first in a series of inspections looking at how individual forces have responded to the guidelines.
HMIC inspectors said they were “struck by how incomplete the police service’s understanding of the national threats was” and that more needs to be done “collectively by all forces”.
The report called for “much greater attention” from police leaders.
“The capacity and capability of the police to respond to national threats is stronger in some areas than others – with the police response to the cyber-threat being the least well developed,” HMIC’s Stephen Otter said.
Police plans to deal with counter-terrorism, public order, civil emergencies and organised crime were in “stark contrast” with the capabilities for cyber-related threats.
Inspectors found the ability to deal with cyber-threats remains “largely absent” in some forces and that some senior officers across England and Wales are still “unsure of what constituted a large-scale cyber-incident”.
They found forces were “silent” when it came to preventing cybercrime and protecting people from the harm it causes, despite the fact it is “fast becoming a dominant method in the perpetration of crime.
“The police must be able to operate very soon just as well in cyberspace as they do on the street,” the report said.
According to the government’s definition, a large-scale cyber-incident could be “a criminal attack on a financial institution to gather data or money” or an “aggregated threat where many people or businesses across the UK are targeted”.
It also includes “the response to a failure of technology on which communities depend and which may also be considered a civil emergency”.
Basically- despite cybercrime costing the UK ecomony billions of Pounds, our plods are light years from being able to cope- let alone help us.
Moral of the story is make sure that you are as secure as you can be- because the state isn’t capable of nannying you.