Derbyshire's digital PCSOs encourage safety online as a New Year's resolution

Digital PCSOs in Derbyshire are urging people to make improving security online a New Year’s resolution.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 7:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 3:55 pm

Digital PCSOs Sarah Dufton and Laura Buchanan are proactively working out in local communities to help people stay safe online.

Sarah and Laura, who are based out in policing divisions in the north and south of the county, join the force-wide digital PCSO James Land.

The role was first launched in 2015 and, similar to a traditional Police Community Support Officer, they work closely with local communities to offer advice, promote safety issues and reduce vulnerability but with a focus on the digital world.

Sarah, Laura and James direct their work to helping people stay safe online, which includes online banking and preventing fraudulent activity, on social media and gaming, and online grooming, as well as being up to speed on the latest scams, trends and threats.

They also engage with people online through their Twitter feed, @DigitalPCSO.

Sarah, who has been a PCSO with Derbyshire for almost 15 years in the Ripley area, said: "Cybercrime can be one of the most damaging crimes a victim can experience, and it is more common than you think because we are all going online much more now than ever before.

“Every year across the globe, millions of pounds of money and lots sensitive data are stolen from people, including individuals in our local communities, and a lot of this can be prevented with some simple actions.

“We’re here to show people, especially those who are the most vulnerable, how to protect themselves and their family online and not be tricked into giving away information to the wrong person.”

At this time of year, Sarah, Laura and James are particularly keen to remind people about making sure any devices they buy or receive as gifts are as secure as possible to protect your data and personal information.

They also ask parents to consider limits and speak to children and teenagers about staying safe online.

Laura, who has also been a PCSO in the Erewash area for more than 11 years, said: “Even if you haven’t received new devices this Christmas, please just take a few moments to make sure your current devices are secure.”