New strategy launched to transform policing’s ‘resilience to cyber attacks’

The National Police Chief’s Councils (NPCC) has published a National Policing Cyber Security Strategy designed to support the advancement of cybersecurity across policing and government.

Jun 19, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The three-year strategy has been commissioned by the NPCC’s Digital, Data and Technology Coordination Committee (DDAT CC) in close collaboration with the Police Digital Service (PDS).

“In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, criminal tactics are constantly evolving,” said the NPCC.

“Cybercrime, in particular, is highly complex, presenting unique challenges to policing and accelerating demand force-wide. As such, we too are evolving.”

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke says in the future “it is highly likely” that HMICFRS will inspect the effectiveness of forces’ cyber security practices and the contribution of this strategy.

NPCC chair Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said cyber threats and risks are ever present dangers, where officers and staff have to be ready and able to respond, often at a moment’s notice.

“These kinds of incidents are often unseen, but can have a major impact and compromise our ability to keep the public safe,” he said.

“The National Policing Cyber Security Strategy is a significant step forward for policing to face these challenges and work together to defend our people, systems, and the service, as a whole, from the threats that we face.”

Working to the “very highest cybersecurity standards” and supported by the PDS, the NPCC says its Police Information Assurance Board will focus on a number of key areas, to ensure “long-term resilience against cyber-attacks of any kind”.

NPCC lead for Information Assurance, T/Commissioner Peter O’Doherty, said: “This strategy marks a critical moment, as we strive to safeguard society from cyber threats that are escalating in prevalence and impact, risking harm to the public.

“The strategy will enable us to take a proactive, collaborative approach to cyber defence, ensuring that every officer and staff member is equipped to tackle these threats head-on. Together, our imperative is to defend as one, no matter which police force or agency is called upon.”

NPCC lead for Digital, Data and Technology, Chief Constable Rob Carden, said they “absolutely recognise” that crime types and the requirements of policing are changing and are determined to “stay one step ahead of those within society who pose a threat to the public”.

“To the untrained eye, cybercrime is invisible, actioned by those who unfortunately seek to use specialist skills to harm others,” he added.

“Cyber criminals have a wide range of methods that they use to target organisations and they are relentless in their efforts to target and attack any vulnerability.

“We will continue to drive advancement wherever it is needed, in order to track, intercept and disable this activity, and destroy the networks that facilitate it.

“This strategy will be pivotal in driving that work forward.”

PDS National Chief Information Security Officer Jason Corbishley said: “The strategy is a significant opportunity to ensure that the cyber defences for policing are robust and respond to the ever-growing threats that are faced.

“Each of the initiatives set out in the strategy, will enable policing to improve its resiliency to cyber-attack, and to maintain public trust and confidence in policing services.”

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