Digital Champions programme begins to improve digital skills among the digitally excluded across County Durham and Darlington.

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October 25, 2022

A Digital Champion programme has begun to improve digital skills among those who are vulnerable or digitally excluded across County Durham and Darlington, in partnership with Barclays Digital Eagles.

In a world where digital skills and technological awareness is becoming vital to the functioning of daily life, more needs to be done to ensure members of our community are not left behind. The initiative is designed to educate volunteers, employees and trusted members of the community to support the people around them to develop essential digital skills.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioners Office have been working with Barclays Digital Eagles to develop a plan to support the community throughout County Durham and Darlington, specifically around staying safe online and protecting themselves from fraud and scams.

Selected members of staff will take part in the Digital Champions programme, which will involve completing a series of online learning and virtual sessions on fraud, scams and keeping children safe online. The idea is for these champions to then encourage others to take part in the scheme and hold advice sessions to help the community feel safe when using online services.

This comes as part of the Police and Crime Commissioners priorities to tackle the emerging threats of cyber-enabled and dependent crime by developing new tactics and capabilities to safeguard those using online platforms.

A number of cadets have also been introduced as part of the Durham Agency Against Crime group, who have been trained to deliver additional cyber prevention advice across the area.

These plans were put in place following a report in 2021, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which estimated 3.7 million incidents of fraud are not reported.

Commissioner Allen said “We knew from these findings that we had to improve our community education to stop these fraudsters praying on our residents. We want to ensure that we can provide our community with the tools they need to protect themselves from fraud and scams. Being a victim of these crimes can be life changing and distressing, so people need to know how to spot the signs. It isn’t always easy to recognise fraudulent activity.

“I am delighted that we have been able to partner with Barclays Digital Eagles in order to well equip members of my office to help our community be protected in the future from cyber-crime. Education is vital in ensuring that we begin to reduce the numbers around fraud and cyber-crime.

“I hope that by my office gaining this knowledge and skills to pass on, that it will inspire other members of our community to become Digital Champions. The more Digital Champions we have, ultimately the better informed and more prepared we are to deal with fraud and scams before we even engage with them.”

If you suspect you may have been scammed or involved in fraudulent activity, or have information about a possible fraudster, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For help protect you and your family and prevent online fraud, visit National Cyber Security Centrencsc.gov.uk for top tips and advice.

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