The Merseyside Cyber Security Programme funded by the region’s police commissioner Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, uses cash and assets seized from criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act, which they are channelling into positive initiatives to prevent crime and protect the vulnerable.
The programme, launched by the North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC), offers free training and education to small and medium-sized businesses across the region to help tackle the growing threats posed by cyber-attacks, such as phishing or malware attacks.
The initiative was officially launched at ACC Liverpool by the Police Commissioner, the Chief Constable and the NWCRC, and is supported by Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram.
Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Merseyside Police work relentlessly to ensure crime does not pay, stripping criminals of the cash and assets they make from their illegal activities.
“We are determined to use that money for good – reinvesting it to prevent crime and build a safer, stronger Merseyside.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our communities. We want to protect them, their employees, and their customers, so I’m delighted to be launching the Merseyside Cyber Security Programme today, focused on keeping them safe from the growing threat of cybercrime.”
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Cybercrime is rapidly increasing so it is vital that we help businesses in Merseyside to protect themselves.
“This type of crime is often initially unseen, but it can have a devastating impact on businesses and individuals.
“Prevention is key, and I am very pleased to see the launch of the Merseyside Cyber Security Programme alongside our partners.
“It is particularly satisfying knowing that the free support being offered to businesses is funded from assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, said: “Thriving businesses are the engine of our economy and, for our area to flourish, we need to put them in the best position to succeed.
“In an increasingly digital world, we want to help protect our local SMEs from any potential threats that may come their way – so that they can continue to help our area on its journey to becoming the best place in the country to live, work and run a business in.”
Katie Gallagher, co-founder the NWCRC and MD of Manchester Digital, said: “The threat of cybercrime against businesses has been growing as cyber criminals use increasingly sophisticated methods and technologies to steal money, information or blackmail business owners. One cyber attack against a small business could completely bring it to its knees, so we take these growing threats and prevention against attacks very seriously.”
The Government’s recent Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023 found that a third (32%) of businesses and a quarter of charities (24%) suffered a cyberattack in the last year.
For medium size businesses, this figure rises to 59% and for large businesses it’s even higher at 69%.
However, only 30% of businesses said they used tools for security monitoring, and only 29% said they did a risk assessment covering cybersecurity risks.
The NWCRC was set up in 2019 as a pilot scheme for Greater Manchester to support businesses in the region with the growing threat of cybercrime and cyber fraud. It was so successful that it was expanded for the whole North West region and then also rolled out to other regions across England and Wales and included in the HM Government National Cyber Strategy 2022. The NWCRC now has just under 800 members and continues to grow year on year.
To find out more and sign your business up for the training, click here