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December 5, 2022

Police gear up to take down cyber criminals

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2022. 6:11 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: This past week, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted virtual training with members of the Belize Police Department, the magistracy and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the issue of cybercrime.

Specifically, participants were focused on the elements of cybercrime and how to respond and properly investigate cybercrime.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams shared that despite the implementation of a Cyber Crime Act in 2020 and other supporting pieces of legislation that will help evidence of crimes committed in cyber space to be properly introduced in a court of law, most officers don’t have the first clue where to begin with such an investigation: “… if you were to see someone bullying you on social media, and you go to the police, for the most part the police will tell you we can’t do anything, when in fact the legislation is there and they can do something. So even within the department itself we’re doing a lot of sensitizations in bringing our officers up to speed in letting them understand the law itself and what their powers are under the law so that we will be able to address the issues of people where cybercrime is concerned.”

According to Williams, once the complaint is made then the police station – the officer who would be dealing with the complaint would make a request to the Cyber Crime Unit in Belmopan. As the weapon of choice for most is Facebook, a relationship has been established with that organization to preserve information on their servers in addition to downloading information locally. But he advised that where possible, victims can try to preserve their own evidence and submit it to be part of the investigation.

The police are especially on the lookout for those hiding behind faked personalities on social media, and Williams reminded that most information one gives to open a Facebook or other social media account is preserved as part of the agreement with the multinational organizations in charge of these platforms.

 

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