The crime rate for England and Wales has doubled to more than 11.6m offences, according to the latest figures.

The sharp rise in the headline figures is due to the inclusion of an estimated 5.1m online fraud incidents and 2.5m cybercrime offences for the first time.

Rhymal Persad, Managing Associate in Litigation at Mishcon de Reya commented:

"Over the last 12-18 months we have seen a huge increase in reported instances of cybercrime  - the ONS figures released today estimating 2.5 million cybercrime offences in the past year demonstrate the scale of this threat. Criminals are not only targeting corporations, banks, law firms and other institutions but small businesses and individuals as well. The reality is that no one is safe. Yet it is only once a large organisation has been brought down by cybercrime that we believe the threat will really be taken seriously.

 

We have seen businesses whose systems have been infiltrated by a virus that runs in the background for months, gathering information without victims ever suspecting their systems have been compromised. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, businesses should ideally be able to insure against the risk, but that's not easy as the insurance market has hiked up premiums and narrowed the terms of cover.


There are ways to stop and recall transactions but it is imperative that victims act immediately. We have found that the first few hours are critical to ensure that any money or valuable information stolen can be recovered.