Cyber crime now accounts for more than half of all crimes nationwide – yet only one in 10 victims in South Yorkshire report it to police.
Business people are among those unwilling to discuss it because they are embarrassed at falling victim to online scams, says Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings
He says over 50 percent of crimes now have a digital element yet a survey by his office found only 10 percent of victims reported it.
The business community in particular are reluctant to admit they have been conned. Mr Billings said: “I have met with a number of business people who have not reported cyber crime because they don’t want to look foolish. These are sophisticated, intelligent people who have been caught out and feeling embarrassed is a big factor.”
Police will struggle to combat cyber crime unless people start to report it fully.
“It’s very difficult to build a picture and we don’t know the full extent, it’s almost like an iceberg where we are just seeing the tip of it,” said Mr Billings.
“It raises a big question for the police. When I ask members of the public what they want to see, they always say bobbies on the beat but that won’t solve internet crimes. We need specialist officers in front of computers to tackle these crimes.”
Mr Billings says cyber crime can be wide ranging and affect all ages from children groomed online to older people being defrauded out of money.
He added: “The offenders can be anywhere, Hong Kong through to Russia – criminals no longer have to have a physical presence at the location the crime is committed. This presents a new challenge to all aspects of law enforcement.”