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Credit: Police Hour Durham Police get safe online launch event pictured from left to right Spike from Police interceptors, Stephen Sharp communications for get safe online and DC John Stoker.

A new team has been set up in Durham to tackle the new and emerging threat of computer crime, digital threats and online fraud.

The new unit is one of the first in the UK that is directing funding to tackle the growing crime and challenges the internet brings.

The new Digital Intelligence and Investigation team will be based at Chester-le-Street and will comprise of specially trained detectives and police staff which is headed up by Detective Inspector DCI Gavin Heckles.

The team will not just investigate digital crimes they will also gather intelligence and stay up to-date with the latest digital threats, viruses and scams.

The unit will hopefully prevent members of the public becoming victims of online fraudsters.

Today marked the launch of an event in Durham City to launch the new unit with the Durham Safe Partnership.

The unit will work in conjunction with Get Safe online. Todays event in Durham City saw anti-virus specialist Kaspersky checking people phones, tablets and laptops for malicious software.

There was also a talk from DC Jonathan Stoker on the new worldwide phenomenon, virtual game Pokemon Go.

DCI Gavin Heckles, said: “We have always had a cyber crime team within the wider CID function but the emerging crime patterns and trends over recent months have pointed towards a substantial growth in this type of offence. In response to this, we have set up this new dedicated team comprising of digital specialists to enable Durham Constabulary to provide a digital Neighbourhood policing presence and response.”

Rachael Shimmin, Durham County Council, corporate director for Children and Adults Services, said: “As the use of technology and the internet grows in society, there is more risk of people becoming victims.

“The Get Safe Online event gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about computer crime, digital threats, online fraud and more importantly how to stay safe online to avoid these scams.”

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