Cyber crimes soaring with most not being solved, investigation finds

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A "tidal wave" of cyber crime is going unreported in Britain, an investigation by the i newspaper has found.

The number of cyber crimes rose almost 90% in the space of a year, a freedom of information request to UK police forces showed.

Data from 30 forces obtained by Johnston Press Investigations and the i showed the number of cyber crimes soared from 21,307 in 2015/16 to 39,339 in 2016/17 - an increase of 86%.

The paper gave examples ranging from offences committed by primary school children to fraudsters preying on young professionals using online dating sites.

However, the data showed that on average police forces were spending just 1% of their budget on combating cyber crime, and the majority of reported online crimes were not being solved. 

While forces reported receiving 40,000 reports of cyber crimes in the last financial year, recent crime statistics indicate a far larger number of offences, the i said. 

Dr Tim Owen, director of the cyber crime research unit at University of Central Lancashire, told the i: "We see the internet as the fastest growing place for crime and deviance today.

"Even though there is a lot of work going on to tackle cyber crime, some cyber criminals are so skillful, you need running shoes to keep up with them."