By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) needs to "build capacity" to handle cyber crimes, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday, adding: "We need to recruit based on needs and not numbers."
Marvin Dames, minister of national security, who was the keynote speaker at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's (BCCEC) Cyber Security Forum, underscored the need for "meaningful partnerships" between law enforcement and the private sector to build capacity and expertise to address such challenges.
A report by global cybersecurity firm, McAfee, earlier this year noted that cyber crime has cost businesses close to $600bn globally, up nearly 35 per cent from three years ago.
"We understand that we have to build capacity, and we are assessing where we are right now," Mr Dames said. "Yes, we are moving in the direction of e-government, but we have to ensure everything else moves with it. We are using our capabilities and capacity with the view to keeping pace with the rapid change occurring round us.
"We have a cybercrimes unit in the police force, but we need to build capacity because of the sophistication of the crimes and the growing threats we face. We hope to create an agency to meet these threats head on. Wherever the expertise exists we need to take advantage of it."
Mr Dames added: "We understand that we have to even change the way we recruit. Those days are gone where we said we had to recruit by numbers. We have to recruit by needs if we are going to keep pace with the changes in the technological world.
"We are building capacity as we speak, and it is my hope that in the not too distant future we will see a robust cyber security regime which would be capable of dealing with the current challenges we face today.
"Many law enforcement agencies understand that with what we are seeing today, we cannot do this in isolation. We need the private sector, where there is a tremendous amount of expertise and experience, to work hand-in-hand in partnerships to address the issues."
Mr Dames said the Government was committed to doing "whatever it takes" to ensure cyber threats against businesses and The Bahamas as a whole are mitigated.
In the 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), The Bahamas was ranked 129th out of 164 countries for its commitment and effectiveness in fighting cyber crime.
Of the 25 indicators on which countries were rated, The Bahamas scored highly on just two - cybercriminal legislation and its participation in efforts to combat the problem globally. This resulted in the GCI placing The Bahamas among 96 nations said to be in the "initiating stage", meaning that they have just "started to make commitments in cybersecurity".