Businesses Urged to Sign Up as Staffordshire Police Led Cyber Initiative Reaches Milestone

Businesses are being urged to sign up for a Staffordshire Police led cyber initiative after it reached a major milestone.

The force led Cyber Champion programme – which is supported by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Staffordshire University and the Regional Organised Crime Unit – offers specific training to local organisations in identifying thing such as phishing emails, scams or cyber-attacks. It’s now responsible for training 500 champions.

Last month saw the programme reach the half a thousand milestone, with businesses such as the Beth Johnson Foundation, Chambers of Commerce, WhitChem Limited and Asist all involved in the most recent session.

Speaking afterwards, a representative from The Beth Johnson Foundation said; “The cyber champion training made me realise just how important it is that we raise awareness of cyber-crime with everyone in our organisation and in our community. The training has given me the knowledge and confidence to have conversations with others, not to be an expert – just to be someone who isn’t afraid to open up a conversation about the dangers and how to stay safe.”

Another added; “I thought I was reasonably cyber-aware before attending, but the training really opened my eyes to just how much damage could be done in such a short space of time – and so easily! I’m really glad I attended.”

Following its inception in October 2018, specially trained officers have been educating representatives from local businesses in cyber security with a Staffordshire University led survey finding 100% of those taking part would recommend the programme.

The course itself is currently free and involves a four-hour training session.

Kate Dempsey Cyber PROTECT Officer who led on the course design and delivers the training said: “What is great about this course it that it is specifically designed for users, so attendees do not need any IT knowledge prior to coming along to the training.

“I would encourage all business to get on board with this initiative to raise awareness to cyber criminality and help strengthen cyber security throughout the workplace.”

Temporary Chief Constable Emma Barnett said: “I was present when this initiative got off the ground in 2018 and I’m delighted to see it succeed in providing vital training to our local businesses.

“To reach this milestone of 500 champions is excellent news as we are now living in a world where people are really relying on technology to be safe and secure – whether that be because they’re working from home or just in their day to day use. We know what a huge impact being a victim of cybercrime can have and programmes such as this means we can make it harder for cyber criminals to operate”

Professor Elhadj Benkhelifa, Director of Smart Systems, AI and Cybersecurity Research Centre and Head of Professoriate at Staffordshire University says: “It is fantastic to witness how the initiative is reaching out to the wider business community in Staffordshire.

“Achieving 500 subscribers (Cyber Champions) is an excellent milestone, which we must celebrate. The Cyber Champion in the Workplace initiative is academically validated and underpinned by state of the art research, by Staffordshire University’s cybersecurity team.

“The initial evaluation work shows a very positive impact in the subscribed organisations, enhancing cyber safety in the workplace. We are now looking into how we can scale this initiative up to other regions in the UK, and we will continue to monitor the impact.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams said: ‘Cyber crime is a threat facing organisations of all sizes across all sectors and makes up a major part of crime in Staffordshire and the UK.

“Crime has changed and it continues to evolve which is why the Cyber Champions in the Workplace initiative was established in October 2018 by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office.

“This free training gives Staffordshire businesses the opportunity to stay one step ahead and learn practical skills on how to keep their organisation safe online so it is fantastic to hear that over 500 cyber champions are now in place to help keep local business safe.”

For more information on how to get involved, contact CyberCrimeUnit@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk.

Tony Walley
News & Sport Editor

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