Belfast Telegraph

PSNI puts cyber crime on the curriculum

Police in south and east Belfast, Castlereagh and North Down and Ards, in partnership with local Policing and Community Safety Partnerships, have launched an initiative to help local teens deal with problems arising from use of the internet.

Over coming weeks students at each secondary and grammar school within C District will be able to see 'Escape v2.0: The City', a play by the Saltmine Trust Theatre Company which tackles a range of online safety issues from cyber bullying to online grooming.

The programme was launched at Dundonald High School on Monday with the performance being followed by a workshop at which the pupils discussed issues raised and got advice from specially trained PSNI Neighbourhood Police Officers.

C District Service Delivery Superintendent Yvonne Davidson said police had received 71 reports of offences or inappropriate behaviours relating to Twitter and Facebook in 2010. By last year, that number was more than 2,100.

"It is against this backdrop that we in C District decided to do something at a local level to try to address this emerging trend," she explained.

"As a consequence cyber bullying, cyber stalking, online grooming and harassment are day to day realities faced by many young people. As parents and as a society we must face up to this and equip our children with the right tools and skills to negotiate the online world safely and to recognise any danger signs when they occur."

A follow up conference is set to hear from 'North Down and Ards Action Against Trafficking' on both the current global and local situations, as well as from prominent Human Rights lawyer Lois Hamilton LLB who has previously represented trafficked victims.

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