East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA has questioned the Justice Minister Claire Sugden on the important and growing issue of cyber bullying and online criminality.
Mr Beggs, a member of Stormont’s Justice Committee, said;
“Can the Minister of Justice outline what action she is taking to address cyber bullying and cyber criminality?”
The Minister stated “in respect of cyber bullying, my Department, through the local Policing & Community Safety Partnership’s (PCSPs), have done much to develop internet safety and tackle the growing prevalence of cyberbullying and some of its very harmful consequences.”
“…On cyber criminality more generally, it is estimated that more than 50% of all crimes committed nowadays utilise the cyber environment to some degree. Cybercrime is a priority of the PSNI, which has established a dedicated Cybercrime Unit and which works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and other stakeholders in response to the threat.”
Mr Beggs responded: “With the growing prevalence of online bullying and crime, and with the fact that over 50% of crime now has some sort of cyber aspect to it, it is an important issue for the DoJ and the PSNI to deal with. I welcome the work of the local PCSPs, where Mid & East Antrim appear to be taking the lead. I am aware that they recently delivered a play entitled ‘Control-Alt-Delete’, which addressed cyber bullying and internet safety. This work is directed at safeguarding young people and educating them in the dangers of everyday life while playing games or chatting with friends online. It was encouraging to see such a high attendance from young people at the events and hopefully they have a better knowledge and are better prepared and equipped to deal with online bullying or crime which may occur. Proactive, early intervention is key.”