UNIVERSITY researchers in Southampton are leading the fight to crack down on cyber crime.

A team from Solent University is working with police officers from the UK and the United States to tackle online criminal activity.

Criminology experts from the university have teamed up with the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO) to find better ways to analyse and police online criminal activity.

With the Internet playing an ever-larger part in the lives of people in Hampshire and the rest of the UK, criminals are finding more ways to target vulnerable people.

They can gain access to sensitive financial details, including bank details, by hacking, while other types of fraud can also be committed by criminals operating over the Internet.

Solent’s senior lecturer in criminology, Dr Simon Fox, was the keynote speaker at the recent ACRO Becoming Cyber Savvy conference.

The university features cyber-crime as part of its specialist criminology courses.

He appeared alongside experts including Ian Readhead, chief executive at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Dr Bray Barnes, the founder of the Security Evaluation and Solutions Group (SES Group) and formerly from the US Department of Homeland Security, and Dr Robert Bell from SES Group and formerly from New Jersey State Police.

The event was attended by Hampshire Constabulary, The Home Office, the National Crime Agency, ACPO and academics from across the country.

Addressing the conference, Dr Fox said: “Cyber-crime moves through countries’ borders with ease, and is carried on the back of technological innovation.

“Cyber-crime offers the most pervasive means to do ‘wrong’ against others, and emphasises the need to overcome our jurisdictional differences.”

And speaking afterwards he added: “Fighting cyber-crime is a real challenge for the law enforcement authorities.

“My colleague Dr Esther Snell and I have been doing some really interesting work, looking at how it is investigated, considering procedural powers and jurisdictional uncertainty.

“It became evident from the APCO conference that cyber-crime is rapidly increasing, and we all need to educate ourselves for prevention and protection.”