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Merseyside Cyber Security Programme launches

The Merseyside Cyber Security Programme launch, including (centre three, l-r) Steve Rotheram, CC Serena Kennedy and Commissioner Emily Spurrell.

Up to 300 Merseyside businesses will benefit from the first free, police-backed cyber resilience programme in the region, launched today by the North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC).

The Merseyside Cyber Security Programme has been funded by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy using money 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 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 this morning by the Police Commissioner, the Chief Constable and the NWCRC, and is supported by Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram.

Commissioner 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.”

Katie Gallagher, co-founder the NWCRC, added: “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 almost a third (32 per cent) of businesses and a quarter of charities (24 per cent) suffered a cyberattack in the last year.

For medium-sized businesses, this figure rises to 59 per cent and for large businesses it’s even higher at 69 per cent. However, only 30 per cent of businesses said they used tools for security monitoring, and only 29 per cent 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 regionm 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.

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