A major restructure of the areas of SA Police responsible for investigating cybercrime and financial fraud has occurred, better positioning the organisation to tackle these issues moving forward.
Cybercrime is a major focus for the SA Police (SAPOL), with increasing demand for investigational capabilities in a wide range of crime types, along with data analysis.
The new Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch (FCIB) has 90 sworn and non-sworn staff – including 13 new positions – and features many specialists including forensic accountants, digital analysts, and expert investigators.
It officially began work last Monday (3 July), taking over a number of sections formally encompassed in the Commercial and Electronic Crime Branch.
Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval said the restructure was not just a change of name, but followed an extensive review of SAPOL’s response to financial and cybercrime.
The new branch incorporates a number of sections: Cybercrime Investigation, Digital Evidence, Confiscation, Forensic Accounting, Intelligence and the Serious and Organised Financial Crime Investigation.
In addition to its investigations and analytical components the new section has a strong emphasis on both Intelligence and Crime Prevention.
“It’s about positioning SAPOL for the future and the growing trend for phones, devices and computers to be used to facilitate crime or used to assist in a crime,” Assistant Commissioner Duval said.
He said there have been extensive changes over the last decade in the digital world, in how the community and criminals use phones and computers and the technological capabilities.
“A phone is now essentially what a hard drive used to be – it can contain a vast amount of data,” he said.
“This is our plan for the future with this branch able to assist other areas of SAPOL with investigations, data extraction and specialist digital work.”
The dedicated Cybercrime Investigation Section will provide an investigation team and crime prevention capability to respond to the ever increasing nature of cybercrime.
The officer in charge of the new branch, Superintendent Paul Yeomans, said there will be a focus on training, crime prevention and community engagement in the area of cybercrime.
“We know that prevention is the best option with regard to scams – when the money is filtered overseas we have little chance of recovering it, so our aim is to stop that offending occurring,” he said.