THE work of Cumbria’s new cyber and digital crime unit has been praised.

Now eight months into operations, Cumbria police’s Cyber and Digital Crime Unit (CDCU) has investigated dozens of cyber crime cases, and advised more than 60 victims of cyber crime on strategies to improve their online safety.

The new unit was funded by a rise in council tax, introduced last year.

The county’s crime commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Raising council tax is always a hard decision to make. 

“However, when I see that the extra money gained has given the force extra resources to catch criminals behind closed doors, I know that it is the right decision. 

“Cyber crime is constantly gaining momentum with criminals no longer having to leave the comfort of their homes to target victims.

“Cyber crime can range from hacking and fraud to blackmail, stalking and sexual crimes and can often carry over to international police forces – that’s why having a cyber-crime unit is so essential.

Detective Inspector Ian Harwood, who leads the unit, said: “I am extremely proud of how far the team has developed. 

“Each team member has shown a high level of dedication and commitment to their own professional development, which often is in addition to the high demand from his or her day-to-day operational policing responsibilities. 

“Every member of the cyber crime team has completed and passed an industry standard foundation training in computing and networking, and are now working towards other qualifications in investigations and specialisms such as cryptocurrency.”