MSP welcomes recruitment boost and cyber hub for North East

Gillian Martin has been campaigning for increased awareness of the dangers of social media and the internet particularly among younger people
Gillian Martin has been campaigning for increased awareness of the dangers of social media and the internet particularly among younger people

A cyber-crime hub in the North East of Scotland will be used to tackle an increase in crimes related to social media and the internet.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson revealed trained cyber staff and a new hub had opened last month as part of Police Scotland’s overall investment in tackling cyber-crime.

It was revealed after Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin asked what steps were being taken to retain staff in the North-East as well as battle online crime.

Ms Martin has been campaigning for increased awareness of the dangers of social media and the internet particularly among younger people, hosting a members debate earlier this year, as well as launching a pilot film completion to raise awareness of the issue.

The Justice Minister said the economic climate in the North-East of Scotland due to high wages and housing costs caused by the oil and gas industry, meant it was often challenging to recruit staff.

But he said “concerted efforts” had been made to recruit staff which were now up to appropriate levels.

A meeting was held at the end of May with the Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland Ian Livingstone along with Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray Council where policing matters were discuseed.

Mr Matheson said officers starting their career in the Police received higher salaries than their counterparts in England and Wales.

Meanwhile recruits with specific knowledge and expertise in cyber-crime were working at the new hub.

Commenting, Ms Martin said: “The North-East of Scotland is known as the oil capital of Europe and it can often be difficult to retain staff.

“But I am pleased to be informed that not only have staffing levels been brought back to a suitable number, we are also working hard to tackle cyber-crime.

“This can be anything from abusive messages on social media to revenge porn or grooming.

“More young people than ever have never known a life without the internet or social media and I am relieved to hear Police Scotland are doing all they can and that a dedicated space has been positioned in Aberdeen.”