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Businesses offered cyber security health check Shropshire Star

PUBLISHED: November 18, 2015 16:31

The Government is encouraging the biggest firms in the UK to better defend themselves from potential cyber attacks by getting a virtual health check.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey has launched the Cyber Governance Health Check for 350 of the biggest businesses in the country, to help them understand and improve their level of cyber security. Large companies have frequently been the target of attacks by online hackers, with telecoms firm TalkTalk suffering the most recent in a series of breaches that have also affected eBay and Sony Pictures in the last 18 months. Mr Vaizey told the Intel Security Summit in London that as more data moves online, businesses need to increase their readiness.

“With more and more of our daily transactions done online, keeping our personal data safe is a top priority for this Government,” he said. “Our cyber health check will help the UK’s biggest firms strengthen their cyber security and ensure they continue to thrive in our growing digital economy.” The health check, the third of its kind, is part of the Government’s five-year 860 million National Cyber Security Programme aimed at making the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online.

Businesses who take part will receive a tailored report that identifies any weaknesses in their systems. Last year’s health check found 88% of the companies involved included cyber security as part of their risk register, which was up from 58% in 2013. Mr Vaizey will write to the 350 companies eligible to remind them the Government expects them to take robust steps to secure the online areas of their business.

The announcement follows Chancellor George Osborne’s speech at the GCHQ listening post this week where he confirmed 1.9 billion of funding for cyber security, and a new National Cyber Centre.

Police patrols stepped up in Shropshire to reassure public in wake …

Police patrols are to be stepped up across Shropshire in a bid to reassure people in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris, it has been revealed.

Police leaders said it was important to maintain close links with communities to offer reassurance and advice. It comes after Islamist militants claimed responsibility for the attacks in the French capital on Friday, where attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium saw 129 people die. West Mercia Police spokeswoman Alexa Collicott said: “In response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, high visibility patrols have been increased across the West Mercia policing area.

“We will continue to review operational deployments. “It is crucial that we maintain close links with our communities to offer reassurance and advice.

“We work closely with other agencies, both locally and nationally, to safeguard our communities against this threat. “Through the government s Prevent Strategy, the police service works proactively with partners to address all forms of terrorist threat whether from international or domestic terrorism.

“We advise the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency the public should always call 999. “Communities and families can also contact their local police for access to advice and support about anyone they feel may be potentially vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism or violent extremism. “You can contact your local police on 101 or visit for further advice and guidance.”

West Mercia Police deputy crime commissioner Barrie Sheldon said he was backing the move. “I was aware the chief constable sent a message out to staff in respect of the tragic events in Paris asking them to be extra vigilant and increasing visibility and reassuring communities accordingly,” he said. “I welcome this approach.

West Mercia is a safe place to live but we cannot be complacent and must remain vigilant.” France has mobilised 115,000 security personnel in the wake of the Paris attacks, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said. Mr Cazeneuve said 128 more raids on suspected militants were carried out.

French air strikes also hit Islamic State in Syria overnight.

A huge manhunt is under way for one of the suspects, Salah Abdeslam.

He is believed to have fled across the border to his native Belgium.


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Fat cat salary claims rejected by Shropshire and Mid Wales police …

Police chiefs in Shropshire and Mid Wales today rubbished an out of date report which claims 16 of its top brass are on six-figure fat cat salaries.

Pressure group The Taxpayers Alliance has been releasing public sector salaries this week following Freedom of Information requests. In its report on the police, the figures, which are for the year 2013/14, claim that at West Mercia Police there are seven people earning 100,000-plus, with two of those on more than 150,000. They are named as chief constable David Shaw ( 153,662) and deputy chief constable Simon Chesterman ( 172,439).

According to the figures, there is also one person in the commissioner s office at West Mercia on 100,000 plus a claim denied by the office itself. But West Mercia Police spokeswoman Terri-Anne Powell said: The figures provided by The TaxPayers Alliance are two years out of date and refer, in some cases, to people who no longer work for the organisation. In order that we are open and transparent, the salaries of our chief officers are published by our Police and Crime Commissioners and are available online.

West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police saved money from 2012 when they moved to sharing some of their senior leadership roles as part of their strategic alliance. In the Dyfed Powys force area, the report claims there are six staff on 100,000 or more, with two of those on 150,000 plus and one named as the director of finance and resources in the report on more than 200,000. In the Dyfed-Powys commissioner’s office there are two staff members on six-figure salaries, it adds.

But Dyfed Powys Police chief constable Simon Prince, said: The payments referred to were made in 2012 and 2013 and had to be made in line with terms and conditions set out by the Police Authority. We have made significant changes since that time.

Since I have been in post as chief constable I have brought in changes to chief officers terms and conditions resulting in them costing the force considerably less. I have stopped other payments that were in place prior to my appointment, bringing chief officer payments in line with national police regulations.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon added: Spending wisely is one of my priorities. Significant decisions I made shortly after my election mean the top 10 salaries across the police and my office cost 20 per cent less than when I arrived. In respect of my office I made the decision to replace the chief executive and assistant chief executive roles with a single post that of chief of staff.

This decision alone reduced the annual salary bill by 84,000.

My office costs seven per cent less in 2015-16 in real terms than the Police Authority cost in its last full year (2011-12) and it does more.