Our Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit (DIIU) has recently celebrated its first birthday and is already proving to be a valuable resource.

In May 2018, a business plan for a purpose-built team to tackle cyber related crime landed in front of the Chief Constable, Kier Pritchard, and I. Wiltshire was one of the only forces within the south west region which did not have a dedicated unit and it was agreed the DIIU would be established with support funding from the precept budget.

The recent high-profile case relating to the footballer Emiliano Sala's mortuary footage being released on to social media showed the comprehensive approach the DIIU took to investigate the digital and cyber element of the crime. This resulted in two people being convicted in September.

The team was also involved in assisting the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT) with the murder of Ellie Gould, where they were able to look in to phone usage to establish evidence.

Assisting with cases where vehicle technology has helped to plot a person’s whereabouts across the country to digging into home computer router usage and crypto currency swindles. These are just some examples of where their skills have come into play.

I have said before “the frontline is now in the front room” and the DIIU is the foundation of an investigation and education capability that should grow to counter the increased threat to us all. The team continues to develop and stay ahead of the ever-growing threats of cyber related crimes that make people fall victim without having to leave the comfort of their own living room. The team has recruited and trained a further 20 digital media advisors who are an accessible police resource for any investigation where technology, digital devices or cyber elements come into play.

January will see the introduction of two digi-dogs, trained to detect digital devices such as phones, SIM cards, small chips and computers.

Cyber criminals are growing more and more sophisticated and the police need to make sure we are not left behind.

We need to be as computer-literate and tech-savvy as those who are out there trying to cause harm or take advantage using new and emerging technology.

We have two cyber prevent and protect officers who are able to offer advice on the emerging threats of cyber crime.

We will continue to show the public and local businesses what steps they are able to make to take a proactive role in keeping themselves safe online.