Region to play key role in cyber crime fight

ROGUE traders are to be targeted at a new centre which will put North Yorkshire at the forefront of the fight against cyber crime.

As internet scams and online fraud continue to soar across the country, York Council and North Yorkshire County Council are set to accept a Government funding package which will see a flagship centre set up in the region in an effort to tackle the problem.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has offered the authorities about £600,000 a year to set up the facility, which will see 14 jobs created as investigation teams are expanded.

It comes after the councils and the East of England Trading Standards Association (EESTA) made a joint bid for the cash in September and were awarded “preferred-bidder” status over a string of rival applications.

Both authorities were considered ideal hosts for the scheme due to the county council already having an internet and digital evidence recovery laboratory (DERIC), and York Council hosting a regional investigation team on behalf of the Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards group.

Annual funding of between £590,000 and £640,000 is expected to be given to the councils over three-years.

Graham Venn, head of Trading Standards at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “The North Yorkshire role will be to extend the current lab that we have got to be able to supply the technical expertise to investigations taking place around the country.

“The county will become a centre of excellence in terms of who will have a specialist internet crime lab where investigators from across the country will come to this lab for technical support.

“It will be the only local authority-run e-crime lab in the country. So it’s quite an accolade really that we have got it.

“Normally a scheme like this would go to the home counties or London authorities.

The county council’s executive was recommended to accept the grant when it met yesterday, Tuesday, January 10.

A report before the authority says North Yorkshire and York’s trading standards teams will spearhead the projects based around investigative and forensic work, while EESTA will have responsibility for intelligence gathering and training.