Police warn students over “sextortion” rise

Student safety has been named as a police priority during Fresher's Week

STIRLING Police have warned students over a rise in “sextortion” type crimes in recent months.

Sextortion offences see online criminals demand money from victims under threat of having intimate images posted online.

The rise was highlighted at a meeting of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, where Chief Inspector Gill Marshall, the Stirling Area Commander, outlined this type of crime and how officers will be working to help victims and prevent people from being affected by online criminals.

She stated that “the cyber element of criminality is up front and centre.”

Marshall said that the rise in crime was due to an increased awareness from victims, making them more inclined to come forward and report these crimes.

Most victims are aware of how to deal with being a victim of sextortion, according to the police performance report delivered by Marshall. “Most of the cases we have seen have not resulted in any financial loss from the victims.”  This was credited to awareness work already carried out by officers, especially with Stirling university students.

The advice given is to completely disengage when targeted online, and to immediately report it to the police.

She added that educating young people on the risks of sending photographs to unknown people online was a priority for officers.

Raising awareness about these risks to students was highlighted as a main task for the police.

Marshall stated that students and young people are at a much higher risk of being targeted by cyber criminals due to the amount of time they spend on social media.  

“We will have a stall at Fresher’s week where we can talk to students about these risks and how to stay safe online.

“We want students to get used to a police presence and feel confident about coming forward to report crime.

“Educating people contributes to the ways and means of tackling crime.”

Marshall told Brig that student safety is a police priority during Fresher’s week.

Featured Image: Suffolk Police

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