According to a new report, the majority of cyber-crime cases are closed by police with no further action taken and no suspect identified.
More than five and a half million cyber offences are now thought to take place each year, accounting for almost half of all crime in the country.
Inspectors analysing the police response to cyber dependant crimes (offences which can only be carried out using a computer) found the majority of reports were ‘finalised with no further action being taken’.
It was a similar story for cyber-crimes in general, where the most common outcome was ‘investigation completed – no suspect identified’.
The situation is thought to be much worse in reality with a large number of crimes not being reported to the police.
Between April and June, 40 per cent of calls made to Action Fraud ended before they were answered, equating to 20,000 reports relating to cyber-crime and fraud not being made.
There were 25,000 reports of cyber-dependent crime in 2017/18 and 656,000 IP addresses were known to have been affected but the problem is thought to be far bigger.
Inspector of constabulary Matt Parr described it as a ‘huge under-reported crime’ which is costing the Government around £1.1 billion a year.
Currently only one police force in England and Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police has made cyber-crime a priority.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) who published the report, is now leading calls for a central agency to take control of cyber-crimes and decide if they require investigation from local police forces or a national agency.
A Government spokesman said: “We continue to work with law enforcement to ensure they have the capabilities they need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We will also continue to invest in law enforcement capabilities at the national, regional and local levels to deal with the increasing volume and sophistication of cyber-crime.”