(ORILLIA, ON) – Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Thomas Carrique was joined by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and senior OPP commanders in Orillia to celebrate the opening of its Cyber Operations Centre.
The speed at which technology advances, and is integrated into society presents a continuous challenge for law enforcement to identify, seize, store and examine digital evidence. To meet these challenges, the OPP developed the Cyber Strategy to manage risks, reduce threats and mitigate harm caused by crimes involving digital technologies. Strategic goals include building investigative capacity by ensuring appropriate training, procedures and supports are implemented across the organization.
The centre houses a diverse mix of uniform, special constables and civilian members who possess highly-technical skill sets required to assist with search warrants, collect evidence or provide sophisticated digital analysis for investigators. Lodged in various locations within OPP General Headquarters in Orillia since 2018, this modern workspace will support the continued sharing of knowledge, expertise and equipment in a facility custom modified to meet the organization’s needs. The OPP Cyber Operations Centre is now home to the Cyber Operations Section, which includes the Cybercrime Investigations Team, the Digital Forensics Unit and Forensic Video Analysis Unit.
“The OPP has had specialized resources that have been collaborating for several years to conduct device-based and internet-based criminal investigations. Finally, we have our talented, dedicated people and state of the art technology under one roof to continue our tradition of professional excellence,” says Chief Superintendent Paul Beesley, the Executive Lead for the OPP Cyber Strategy since day one.
The Cybercrime Investigations Team is responsible for:
- investigating cybercrimes within Ontario where technology is the target of the crime;
- assisting in the investigation of conventional crimes that have an online component; and,
- collecting, analyzing and sharing cybercrime intelligence data.
The Cybercrime Investigations Team also has an outreach component, which provides support and mentoring to frontline members to enhance their response to cybercrime calls for service at local OPP detachments. The outreach component also focuses on cyber awareness, community engagement, presentations and information sharing through participation in working groups and events led by community, industry and academic partners.
The OPP Digital Forensics Unit provides innovative specialized investigative services to OPP members, municipal police services in Ontario and government ministries dealing with investigations involving device-based digital evidence. Digital Forensics assists with the identification, preservation, forensic recovery, analysis and interpretation of digital data derived from an electronic device, whether stored locally or in the cloud.
The OPP Forensic Video Analysis Unit was the first of its kind in Canadian law enforcement dating back to the early 1990s. As technology advances, there are increasing amounts of high-quality video sources available, including home security systems, cell phones and dashboard cameras. These sources provide valuable investigative information for a wide range of criminal occurrences. The ability to analyze multiple video sources in a forensically-sound environment, provides an essential tool to enhance OPP investigative capacity.