One of our new cyber officers is no stranger to the news. She actually spent the first few years of her working life reading it to busy commuters.
Lucky for us Claire Vandenbroecke was inspired to swap FM radio for the police airwaves back in March 2005. The former traffic and travel reporter was encouraged to join North Yorkshire police after developing close relationships with the communications staff who answered her relentless questions.
Since then, the film and media graduate has been passionate about combining her love of technology with working with the public. Her career took her from answering 999 calls in the highly pressured control room setting to working under a different sort of pressure – presenting bespoke cyber advice sessions to school children, students and local businesses.
Claire said: “I’ve had quite varied career but it’s always been based around using technology and working with people in some way shape or form. I studied film and media at university which led to work in the TV, film and visual effects industry so my love of software and technology comes from there.
“I spent six years with North Yorkshire Police answering 999 and 101 calls before my circumstances changed and I moved to London to work in media again. I joined Northumbria in June last year working on the customer service desk in the communications centre taking 101 calls and helping the public and through that found this role which seemed to have all my skills and interests rolled into one and I absolutely love it.
“Every day is different which I love. Because we are a new team, there really is no set pattern or any typical week but we were created as part of a response to the growing trend of cybercrime and use our specialist skills and knowledge to teach children, teens, adults and the elderly how to keep their data safe online, how to spot a scam and how to protect themselves against a hack.
“We also help local businesses by looking for vulnerabilities in their cyber security systems and offering them advice on the best ways to keep their networks safe.
“We get really good support from our regional operations unit and lots of training and help from other forces and I can see it growing and growing. The response from public has been really positive too.
Claire joined the cyber world in December 2018 to take on a new challenge and throw herself in at the deep end in a completely new and unique role within the Force. She delivers presentations and workshops alongside just one other colleague as part of the Specialist Cyber Investigations team which fits into the Force’s wider strategy to tackle cybercrime.
Their role is not only to pursue criminals but to equip victims, and potential victims with skills and awareness to help them spot a scam and protect themselves and their precious data from devious hackers.
Claire added: “I’ve definitely not had a typical route into the Force but it just goes to show that all skills, knowledge and experience are valued by Northumbria Police. It doesn’t matter what your background is, you can help make a difference in ways you never knew.
“We have a busy few months ahead of us working with school trusts, local community groups and charities but we are always happy to help so drop us an email if you’d like us to come along and deliver a session.”
To enquire about a cyber security workshop email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that sessions will cover the more technical aspects of cyber security such as creating strong passwords, safe use of public WiFi and other ways to protect your data and devices, for any sessions on cyber bullying, grooming, stalking and harassment please contact your local NPT via our website: https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/your-neighbourhood/
If you think you have been a victim of a cyber crime you can report it here: https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/our-services/report-an-incident/report-an-incident/
For advice about how to stay safe online, visit https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/