PCC Praises Specials following NHS Cyber-Crime Incident
The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, has praised the work of nine Special Constables who recently lent their skills and support to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage in response to the cyber-attack on the NHS in May.

Dedicated cyber-crime units including a group from the Herts Constabulary’s Special Constabulary Leadership Group, offered assistance to the Lister Hospital with their recovery from the computer virus that affected the NHS and other organisations around the world.

Special Constables worked with the hospital’s networks team on site to ensure that their network environment was protected. They also worked alongside the IT team, offering advice on build management, as a significant number of computer devices were found to be infected and required security updates.
David Lloyd said: “I commend the collaboration work that ERSOU and the Constabulary have been doing, which helped them to deliver swift assistance during this National Emergency.

A number of these Specials had specific IT skills to offer, which were of value to the NHS. This is a brilliant example to all national and local businesses in Hertfordshire of how their highly trained employees can bring vital skills to the policing and community safety arena and I would urge more businesses to play their part in supporting employees to become Special Constables.”

Special Constable, James Hyde, who works for digital communications giant EE, part of the BT Group, explained how the team assisted at the Lister hospital: “We helped by diagnosing and cleaning computers that had been affected whilst applying the latest security patches from Microsoft to other machines to ensure they could not succumb to the ransomware attack.”

When the team of Specials was released from their duties, some chose to stay on in their civilian capacity.

James explained: “Due to the nature of the computer virus, each computer had to be visited in person and with several thousand computers on site; it soon became apparent that it was going to take some time to get through them all. A few of us voluntarily returned in a civilian capacity the next day to continue the efforts of helping the Hospital get back to normal.

It really was a team effort and the IT skills of the Special Constables who attended added reassurance and support to the NHS staff who were working flat out to resolve the situation.”

Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Mark Kendrew said: “If there is one positive to be drawn from the experience it was that we can mobilise a team at speed with a skillset that most large IT organisations couldn’t. The deployment of the Special Constabulary provided our regular colleagues with access to scarce, specialist resources not widely available within the Constabulary or at ERSOU.

This mobilisation also demonstrated the partnership we are building with our regular colleagues in Herts Constabulary’s Cyber Fraud Investigation Unit (CFIU) and ERSOU that enables us to deploy appropriately structured and properly resourced teams. Moreover, we are able to achieve this without depleting the operational capabilities required to support operations elsewhere.

Hertfordshire Constabulary and its Special Constabulary are ahead of others in the country who are seeking to utilise specialist Special Constables in this way and I would like to thank all those officers involved, as well as those who deploy routinely in support of their regular colleagues.  I am constantly being amazed by the fantastic and dedicated work of our Special Constabulary. We are truly leading the way for others to follow. I am proud to be their leader."