FIVE police forces across the south west have started a partnership with Bournemouth University to develop a strategy to combat cyber-crime.

Representatives from Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall and Avon and Somerset forces attended workshops developed by the university at a recent conference there.

Senior police officers and Police and Crime Commissioners were among those who attended to discover innovative approaches to tackle online crime.

Dorset Assistant Chief Constable David Lewis, pictured below, said cyber-crime ranges from fraud and bullying to threats to national and economic infrastructure.

He added: “We are building excellent relationships with the subject matter experts at Bournemouth University, their students and businesses in order to better protect our communities and bring those responsible for cyber-crime to justice”.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “It is crucial to raise greater awareness of cyber-crime. Wherever I go in Dorset, the public have made it quite clear that they are worried by cyber-crime and fraud. The government and the south west region of police forces have identified that this is the most significant emerging threat to our residents.

“Equally important are the issues of sexting and identity theft. More needs to be done to prevent cybercrime and it will remain a key focus for me in the year ahead.”

The BU Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU) has been recently created to outreach its specialist knowledge to industry. The Community Cyber-Crime Initiative (CCI), - linking the BUCSU to the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit - has allowed dialogue through the recent Regional Cyber-Crime Conference, to help develop a sustainable policing strategy to this persistent global threat.