Nick Daines

Derbyshire Police
Derbyshire Police

The way we investigate crime has changed. Years ago, it was largely about talking to people-victims, witness, suspects-together with forensics. Whilst these remain crucial elements of any enquiry, much of how we investigate now is based on technology. Don’t believe me? Think about how many times you might use it during the day....

Get the bus to town using your swipe card to pay; do the shopping using chip & pin; get home and realise you’ve forgotten something so order it on-line instead, make sure you’ve got enough in the account to cover it; do some on-line banking, do some work, send some e-mails, type a report and sort a PowerPoint presentation. Catch up with friends, update your Facebook status and Skype your mates.

Modern technology can be a wonderful thing, and brings all sorts of benefits-access to information, keeping up with friends and family, and dealing with daily life in general. But whilst it is very useful to many of us, it is very useful to criminals too.

Of course, there are still plenty of ‘traditional criminals’, some brighter than others, who commit opportunist offences, break into your house or car, steal from shops, and who generally need to make a quick buck. They still provide us with plenty of business. But there is a very real threat from ‘cyber-enabled’ criminality. Make no mistake, the people behind it are clever and sophisticated, and if you use modern IT, be it a computer, lap-top, tablet, smartphone or other electronic gizmo, you are at risk. Fortunately, some simple steps can save you a lot of grief.

Install anti-virus software on your devices. There are many products out there, some of them free. This can help prevent the installation of malware, and having your important information hacked.

Ensure your permissions are set on social media sites-if not, anything you put on there can be seen by the whole world.

Don’t open up unexpected e-mails from unknown sources-and if you do, don’t open any links. It could be a ‘phishing’ scam, or an effort to install malware on your computer.

Don’t keep passwords or PIN numbers together with bank of credit cards. You can get more advice from