Australia

New police unit to target cybercrime in SA

The way criminals use phones and computers has evolved. (AAP)

A new South Australian police division will focus on cybercrime and financial fraud as criminals increasingly use technology to commit crimes.

The surging use of technology in crime has prompted South Australian police to establish a new division dedicated to cybercrime and financial fraud.

The new Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch began operations last week and involves 90 staff, including forensic accountants, digital analysts and expert investigators.

It has absorbed a number of areas previously dealt with by the Commercial and Electronic Crime Branch.

Police Minister Corey Wingard said the unit would have the ability to respond to an evolving criminal environment.

"Nefarious people are increasingly using technology to commit crimes, so it is important SAPOL are well-equipped to counter that threat," he said.

The restructure followed an extensive review into the response to financial and cybercrime, and will focus on training, crime prevention and community engagement.

The unit includes 13 new staff, including 10 new sworn officers recruited to the digital evidence section - supplementing seven specialist positions recruited in 2018

Assistant commissioner Scott Duval said the last decade has brought extensive changes in the digital world, and the way criminals use phones and computers has evolved.

"It's about positioning SAPOL for the future," he said.

"A phone is now essentially what a hard drive used to be - it can contain a vast amount of data.

"This branch is able to assist other areas of SAPOL with investigations, data extraction and specialist digital work."

The new branch incorporates a number of sections including cybercrime investigation, digital evidence, confiscation, forensic accounting, intelligence and the serious and organised financial crime investigation.

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