The UK government has concluded a consultation that forms part of a new Policing and Criminal Justice Bill that will see volunteers asked to investigate cyber crime.
On launching the consultation back in September, Home Secretary Theresa May said:
We want to help forces to create a more flexible workforce, bring in new skills and free up officers’ time to focus on the jobs only they can carry out. At the same time, we want to encourage those with skills in particular demand, such as those with specialist IT or accountancy skills, to work alongside police officers to investigate cyber or financial crime, and help officers and staff fight crime more widely.
The consultation, which gathered 150 responses, was criticized by some respondents for the potential for paid staff to be replaced by volunteers.
There’s no specific word yet on how volunteers will be asked to help fight cyber crime, but they will now be able to “mirror the roles played by police staff.”
However, making it much easier to volunteer with the police surely brings up questions around ensuring suitable background checks and security measures are taken should a band of volunteers be fighting national cyber crime.
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