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Bill to tackle surge in cybercrime

A Private Members Bill which seeks to tackle the huge rise in on-line crime was introduced to the House with cross-party support.

Recently Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts (Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd) introduced a Private Members Bill to tackle the significant rise in cybercrime and online abuse. The Bill also aims to update laws on surveillance, monitoring and posting abusive digital content.

The Bill, drafted by the cybercrime support foundation Digital Trust, would put responsibility for removing offensive content and notifying the police onto social media companies and internet service providers. It also consolidates over thirty existing laws covering cybercrime and the misuse of digital devices.

As pointed out in techUK’s ‘Partners against crime’ report, cybercrime is increasing at a phenomenal rate, with nearly all types of crime now having a digital aspect. Now that cybercrimes are being recorded as a type of crime in their own right, it is anticipated that the first set of crime figures which include cyber-crimes will show an increase in crime for the first time in 20 years. And when introducing the Police and Crime Bill for a Second Reading earlier this week, the Home Secretary highlighted the "the changing menace of serious and organised crime, fraud and cybercrime; and the increasing role technology plays in crime."

Liz Saville Roberts said of the Bill “With around half the number of crimes being reported to frontline officers now having some form of cyber element, there is an urgent need to update laws on online surveillance, monitoring and abusive content.”

The recent launch of the Home Office’s new strategy on preventing Violence against Women and Girls highlighted the currency of this issue. A key aspect of the strategy is the use of the internet and social media sites as “a vehicle for online abuse, harassment, bullying and stalking.” The strategy commits the Home Office to “working with the police-led Digital Intelligence and Investigation Programme and the College of Policing to drive improvements in police capability to investigate and prosecute online VAWG offences.”

The Bill has secured cross-party support, and was successfully introduced to the House, so it will now progress to a First Reading.


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