West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are starting a week-long campaign to warn about the dangers of so-called cyber crime.

It has been identified as one of the major 21st century threats to policing and law enforcement.

The force, which is only one of a handful across the country with a dedicated cyber unit, is looking to spread the word about the dangers of the crime and the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives.

Det Insp Vanessa Smith is an officer with 22 years experience and leads the West Yorkshire cyber team.

She said: “Not everyone knows quite what cyber crime is and who it can impact on – they might have heard the term but think it’s nothing to do with them.

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“However the vast majority of so called cyber crime which effects the public, involves traditional crime which now has a digital element.

“This is best shown in how social media is used by some people to post threatening or offensive messages.

“The computer is rapidly becoming the new crowbar and anyone who has a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device/phone could be at risk of being a victim.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Cyber crime is a key threat to our communities and that is why I made funding available to create the Cyber Unit.

“I visited the Team recently and I can’t speak highly enough about their dedication and professionalism, they are doing some truly excellent work to safeguard people in West Yorkshire.

“I will be consulting very shortly on priorities for the new Police and Crime Plan, but I’m sure cyber crime will definitely feature.”