Fife Council is calling on Police Scotland to keep its cyber crime unit in Glenrothes.
A new cyber crime hub is being established by the police in Edinburgh, with existing units in Glenrothes and Falkirk being moved to the capital.
We believe Glenrothes has a great deal to offer – excellent location, lower property costs and availability and retention of an excellent workforce.Councillor Lesley Laird, Fife Council depute leader
Police Scotland is investing £1.5 million in the creation of this new facility, a move which it says will bring together the expertise which exists in force.
However, the relocation of the Glenrothes unit has been met with dismay by Fife councillors as the move means a further loss of resources and jobs in the area.
The Council has called on Police Scotland to set up its national hub in Glenrothes instead of Edinburgh.
And Councillor Lesley Laird, depute leader of Fife Council, has written to Chief Constable Stephen House, head of Police Scotland, and Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, seeking an urgent meeting to put forward the case for town.
She said: “While we understand the need for efficiencies and welcome the formation of a new cyber hub which will bring together the expertise and best practice of these three separate units, we are very disappointed that Police Scotland have not chosen to base this unit in Glenrothes.
She said Police Scotland’s decision to relocate the Glenrothes unit had come at a particularly bad time for the area’s economy, following the closures of both Tullis Russell and Velux in recent months.
A joint taskforce for Fife, co-chaired by the Scottish Government and Fife Council, was set up in the wake of the Tullis Russell closure to bring together key organisations to support economic growth and employment in Glenrothes and the wider central Fife area.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government announced £6 million of financial support for economic growth in Fife.
Cllr Laird continued: “It is disappointing that in the face of the work and the investment which is being made in this area to counteract the effects of these major closures, Police Scotland has chosen to take this unit out of Glenrothes rather than to locate the hub here.
“Glenrothes is currently a priority for Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and ourselves at Fife Council and has seen the formation of a new taskforce to help provide the focus on supporting the local economy.
“We believe Glenrothes has a great deal to offer – excellent location, lower property costs and availability and retention of an excellent workforce.
“We will be asking the Scottish Government to support us in our call to Police Scotland to have its hub based in Glenrothes.”
Police Scotland says the new cyber crime hub will be a state-of-the-art facility housing specialist investigators who carry out forensic digital examinations of hardware in support of investigations ranging from child sexual exploitation to serious organised crime.
There has been a 47 per cent increase in demand for digital forensic examinations since the inception of Police Scotland just over two years ago. The amount of memory in devices submitted for examination doubles approximately every two years and has placed a significant demand on police resources
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, who leads on crime and operational support, said: “Very few investigations today do not have a digital aspect to them – the darker side of the web is all to evident for us to see on a daily basis, whether it relates to the sharing of illegal images of children, online grooming, radicalisation, orchestrating serious organised crime or cyber-bullying.
“The ease with which we can access the internet through various devices has become part of every day life. Inevitably, criminals are also increasingly exploiting this. That means law enforcement has to be up to the task of preventing and detecting crime in the online and digital world.
“The creation of a new, modern facility brings together the expertise which exists in Police Scotland. The new hub will become a centre of excellence and will also allow for more effective integration with key partners in academia and business.”