Cyber-crime is becoming an increasing priority for West Yorkshire Police, with the force assembling a team of officers who will specifically deal with offences committed online.
The unit will be tasked with tackling the expanding network of criminals who make use of the internet to target their victims.
Police hope that the new initiative will lead to an increased number of convictions for online fraudsters, bullies, hackers and sex offenders.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Williams, West Yorkshire Police’s cyber-crime lead, said:
“The establishment of a cyber-crime team puts us in the best position to combat this emerging threat.
“The new team will be led by a detective inspector, who’s already in place, with a detective sergeant expected to be appointed shortly and six specialist support staff.”
Police are also hoping to raise greater awareness about online crime, which is thought to affect around 60 per cent of people in Yorkshire.
In addition, around £11.5million is lost in the West Yorkshire area over a 12 month period, as a result of internet-enabled frauds
Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd added: “Cyber-crime can be seen as a faceless crime that occurs in an online world but the reality is very different.
“So much of our daily business now revolves around the internet, meaning this area of criminal activity is rapidly expanding and it’s essential we do everything we can to protect ourselves from the financial and emotional impact this crime can have.”