Report a crime online or call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Staying safe online

The risk of online crime has rising in recent years. Here's our advice on staying safe online, including online dating, scams, social networking, and safety tips for parents and guardians.

The Internet has fast become an essential tool in everyday life. With so many of us now using it unfortunately the risk of online crime has risen in recent years.

Don't reveal personal and financial information online as it could be used to commit online frauds and scams.


There are two different types of cyber-crimes

Cyber-dependent crimes – can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of ICT. This includes the creation and spread of malware for financial gain, hacking to steal important personal or industry data and denial of service attacks

Cyber-enabled crimes – these include fraud, the purchasing of illegal drugs and child exploitation and can be conducted on or offline.

If you believe you have been a victim of any type of crime, please ensure you report it to us by calling 101 or use our online reporting form.

Read our Top 5 Tips, and consider how you can improve your online safety:

  • Use strong, memorable passwords
  • Install anti-virus software on new devices
  • Check privacy settings on social media
  • Shop safely online – always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure
  • Download software and application patches when prompted.

Internet safety tips for parents and guardians

The internet is a great educational resource for children, giving them access to a world of information and new experiences however there are also risks to going online. If you and your child understand them and can make sensible choices, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe while doing so.

Guidelines to help make your child safer online:

  • Keep the computer in your family room where you can monitor your child’s activities and spend time online together to show your child proper behaviour and rules
  • Become more computer literate – get to know the sites your child uses, what type of information they offer and whether there are ways to block out inappropriate material
  • Help your child to understand some people lie online and it’s better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust
  • The internet is not a private space – advise your children not to post any pictures, videos or information on their profiles or in chat rooms that they would not want a parent or guardian to see
  • Never give out personal information online such as your home address, telephone number or child’s school name
  • Always keep in mind that you leave information about yourself behind as you move through the internet
  • Some websites collect information called ‘cookies’. Cookies are compiled lists of information that may include your name, address, telephone number and possibly even your credit card number. Find out how to turn off your cookies – contact your internet provider for help if you need it
  • Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they have met online without your permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first meeting in a public place and accompany your child to the meeting
  • If in doubt, contact the police
  • Do not allow your child to respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene or threatening. Forward a copy of such messages to your internet service provider
  • Do not allow them to access private chat rooms unless you are present
  • Consider using an online service that has special child accounts with restricted access to chat rooms and the internet
  • Monitor your credit card bill. Many pornographic internet sites require credit card payments in order to gain access.


Working in partnership with police, government, the internet and mobile phone industries, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) operates the UK Hotline for reporting criminal online content. The IWF’s service is free to the general public to help minimise the availability of illegal content and protect internet users, visit their website to find out more.


Online scams (emails, Facebook, Twitter etc) can seem genuine; don’t get caught out, follow this advice:

  • Do not open or forward emails which you suspect as being spam
  • Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown sources or from known sources if it looks unusual
  • Do not respond to communications from unknown sources
  • Do not make purchases or charity donations in response to spam email or unusual looking social media requests
  • Set up spam filters on your email account.

Social networking

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become incredibly popular in recent years.
Most users are genuine, but because it is so easy to hide your real identity, it is possible to come into contact with people you would normally avoid.

Facebook safety centre
Information, tools and resources for parents, teachers, teens and law enforcement and more.

Twitter safety and security
Basic safety tips hints and guidance on staying safe.

Online dating

If you are considering online dating, choose a dating website that will:

  • Protect your anonymity until you choose to reveal personal information
  • Enforce its policies against inappropriate use.

Quick Tips

  • Use a reputable site
  • Never reveal private/personal details
  • Meet in a busy public place
  • Stay sober
  • Plan your route home
  • Use your common sense and instinct.

How to delete your browsing history

Your browsing history is the information that your browser remembers and stores on your computer, tablet or smartphone as you browse the web. This includes information you have entered into forms, passwords, and sites you have visited.

Did you know: Some browsers have private browsing/incognito modes which you can activate, meaning that your browsing activity is not recorded.

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