8th March 2024

Commissioner Snowden invests £150k into protecting businesses from cyber-crime in Lancashire

The investment will provide up to 250 small and medium size businesses with vital support to protect against the growing risk of cyber threats, spot the signs of a cyber-attack, and importantly be equipped to respond if they were to fall victim.

Between April 2022 and March 2023 there were 759 victims of cyber-crime in Lancashire. 59% of medium sized businesses identified a cyber security breach in the last 12 months, with 32% of those being attacked at least once per week at an average cost of £5K in lost data and assets.

For businesses, ransomware continues to be the biggest threat and is a priority threat – with attacks having a significant impact on businesses in Lancashire.

Through the Lancashire Cyber Support Programme, delivered by the North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC), staff from businesses will receive training on topics like phishing, encryption, website cloning and passwords, and be helped with policy and procedures around cybercrime, alongside one-to-one support.

Funding provided by the Commissioner has come through the Police Innovation strand of his Safer Lancashire Neighbourhood’s Fund.

Andrew Snowden, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and Chair of the North West Cyber Resilience Centre’s Guidance Council (NWCRC). said:

“I’m delighted to support businesses across Lancashire in becoming more resilient to cyber-attacks, to make life much harder for offenders, prevent new victims, and stay one step ahead of criminals in what is a fast paced, ever-changing landscape.

“A cyber-attack can affect any business, regardless of its size, location or maturity. Lancashire has a wide range of great businesses who operate online and through this programme we’ll be able to lessen these risks, protecting people and organisations.

“This is exactly what my Safer Lancashire Neighbourhood’s Fund is all about, backing projects that support the fight against crime and help officers in their targeting of offenders. It’s also an exciting opportunity for businesses to secure themselves and educate staff with the most up to date information on staying safe in the digital world.

“This project underpins my Fighting Crime Plan priority to disrupt and dismantle organised crime, as we take the fight to the organised crime gangs that increasingly use digital space as an opportunity to profit from the misery of others. We won’t stand for that here in Lancashire and I’d urge businesses to sign up and learn how to take direct action.

Detective Inspector Dan Giannasi, Head of Cyber & Innovation at the NWCRC, said: “Cyber-attacks pose a huge risk to the small business community and can have devastating effects, both financially and emotionally. Small businesses often don’t have access to cyber security services, so the Cyber Resilience Centre offers a range of resources and guidance as part of our free membership.

“Usually, the most common point of attack for an SME is by a phishing email, where an employee believes it to be a genuine email about an invoice or a service, for example, and clicks on a link.

“From that point, a cyber attacker can quickly take over a whole system and hold a business to ransom. One cyber-attack can cause significant financial damage and could even wipe out a business completely.

“We provide professional and affordable services like security awareness training and simulated phishing exercises to help protect businesses and build resilience to cyber-attacks.

Detective Inspector Paul Whitehead from Lancashire Constabulary said: “Like police forces across the North West, we are seeing cyber-attacks on businesses increasing monthly.

“This police backed scheme aims to prevent small businesses in Lancashire from becoming victims of cybercrime and suffering significant financial loss.”

The Commissioner is set to convene key stakeholders later this month to outline how Lancashire Constabulary, together with the CRC and partners can best work together to tackle online criminals, and highlight the benefits of the new programme.

This fully funded Lancashire Cyber Security Programme is for any Lancashire-based business, whether you have a small office and multiple devices or you run your business from your home office.

The scheme will launch in June 2024. In the meantime, interested businesses can register their interest in a fully funded place: https://www.nwcrc.co.uk/lancashire


The NWCRC was set up in 2019 as a national pathfinder to support businesses in the region with the growing threat of cybercrime and online fraud. They have since expanded to cover the North West and rolled out to other regions across England and Wales and included in the HM Government National Cyber Strategy 2022.

The NWCRC now support over 1200 organisations across the north west, and provides support and affordable cyber security services for small to medium businesses, as well as the education and charity sector. The cyber security services delivered by a team of trusted professionals, seconded police officers and cyber experts supported by talented students from local universities across the north west.

They also work closely with the NW Regional Organised Crime Unit, which investigates cybercrime in the region.

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