Police ‘Team Cyber UK’ implementing regional CRC network

IT Security Guru interviewed Nick Bell, detective superintendent and national policing director for Cyber Resilience Centres with the NPCC National Cybercrime Programme.

Q1: This is the first role of its kind within policing  – why was it important to establish the role?

Ans: “Policing needs to reach out across partnerships and the Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) network brings together so much knowledge and experience across business, academia and the police to combat cybercrime and protect business.

“My role is to lead on the implementation of the CRC network so we have a centre in each region. A consistent protect message is vital and the CRC network offers the opportunity to upscale and industrialise that protect message. The SME business community is vulnerable due to cybersecurity cost and often a technical understanding of how to protect your business. With police being a partner in the centres business can have trust in the brand. The fact that the centres are ‘not for profit’ they can have complete confidence in the message and support they receive.”

Q2: What are the opportunities provided for policing using the concept for the CRC network?

Ans: “This is a unique partnership with centres that are independently led but supported by policing. Working with private sector partners provides the opportunity to share knowledge and experience to gain a better understanding of the threat picture and the needs of the business community and how we can provide a better service to support their needs.  The development of the CRC’s allows future opportunities for example to tackle the threat against OT which is equally vulnerable to attack.

“The work with students and universities is really exciting as we can work with the brightest and best cyber talent from the top universities. We ensure they receive appropriate support whilst developing their skills to engage with business to deliver low cost student services. We wish to nurture this talent back into policing where we can provide high quality work and the students will be career ready with strong cybersecurity skillsets in business and policing.”

Q3: Where do you think that policing can benefit most from completely aligned working with the private sector – and vice versa?

Ans: “I think historically the police have tried to investigate their way out of most crime types but cyber is so different and we can’t do this on our own. I see the police Team Cyber UK network as pioneers of change in the way we have developed technically for example across cybercrime, Dark Web and cryptocurrency investigation. But reporting levels of cybercrime are low and we now consider the business operational and reputational needs as well as the police investigative needs. The partnership we have with the Cyber Resilience Centre network regionally and nationally allows the opportunity to understand business needs and the threat picture to focus on the service we provide and also address the economic impact cybercrime has upon business.”

Q4: We hear so much about policing initiatives – what makes this different for you and why did you decide to go for this role?

“Trust and confidence is so important for business within cybersecurity. For me the ‘not for profit’ partnership delivers so many benefits and where SME’s can have that trust and confidence and where all profits are put back in for the greater good. I have worked with numerous partnerships previously and working with universities and the best student talent brings fresh energy and ideas.

“I decided to go for this role as this area of work is new and innovative, the key strategic stakeholder relationships I manage across Team Cyber UK, the Home Office, policing, the private sector and academia allows me to bring those partners together and to drive national programme delivery. I know ‘making a difference’ is a cliché but this is a window of opportunity for policing and business and we have willing and engaged partners making a difference.”

Q5: What would you like to hear back from business and policing a year from now about the work that you are undertaking?

“That we have a successful model for how policing maintains relevance and can develop to suit the needs of the business community in those regions. We have a connected network where the partners support each other to understand the threat picture and work together to combat cybercrime. We have the go-to centre in every region that provides business, and in particular the SME community, a trusted nexus for current cybersecurity advice, guidance, support, partnership and low cost cyber security services.

Q6: What do you think this programme of activity will change?

Trust – The entire business and SME community will have a trusted cyber resilience centre in your region which is not for profit and can support your needs providing support and bespoke low cost cyber security services.

Confidence –  The entire business and SME community will have access to cybersecurity support and affordable services to give business the confidence to grow and develop.

Opportunity – Providing a blueprint of opportunity as to how effective we can work collaboratively and how we nurture the best student talent.

I would like to be in a position where every SME can join a trusted centre in their region and protect themselves from the threat of cybercrime.”

Nick Bell has 26 years policing experience. A career detective he joined the National Cybercrime Programme from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit where he was Head of Regional Cyber Crime, Economic Crime and the ISO Accredited Digital Forensics Unit. Bell has extensive experience as a Senior Investigating Officer in cyber and economic crime investigation leading complex cybercrime, cryptocurrency, fraud, money laundering and confiscation investigations.