ROCU Cyber Prevent & Protect staff from the Regional Cyber Crime Unit, supported by FCCU staff from West Midlands & West Mercia were invited to return to the RAF Cosford Air Show 2023.

This was following the huge success of the event in 2022, but this year proved to be even bigger and better!

With over 50,000 visitors and a day of blistering heat, the team engaged with countless families and tech enthusiasts from all over the world.

Exhibiting again this year in one of two dedicated STEM aircraft hangars, working alongside rocket engineers, University STEM scientists, Cryptography Experts and many more.

We really were amongst esteemed engineering giants!

This year and for the first time, we were able to launch our brand new ‘Hack Den’. A real world environment for people to have an authentic feel for the life of a hacker. Experiencing interactive hacking demonstrations and games that not only highlight some of the vulnerabilities from the online space but also showing how these activities breach the Computer Misuse Act and can lead to criminal convictions. We also utilised our dedicated Raspberry Pi Password Hacking Activity, a dedicated product developed specifically for RCCUWM it’s always a huge draw to our stand, and a source of key engagement.

The event provided the team with fantastic networking opportunities and we are now in the process of arranging future events and collaboration that will have a huge regional impact.

We met with the head of the Scout organisation for the West Mercia region who is also a Cyber security officer in his day job. We’re planning future bespoke Cyber Choices inputs to the Explorer Scout age range of 14 to 18 years across the region., highlighting the Computer Misuse Act, legal / illegal, ethical / unethical Cyber activities through the Cyber Choices program.

We have secured a partnership with the regional head of the RAF Air Cadets, where we will work together educating cadets on our Cyber Choices program in the future , which will in turn support the Cadets to achieve dedicated cyber accreditation/award.

The event also provided catch ups with our regular STEM partners from local Academia including our key partners at Wolverhampton University, prompting new plans to host joint events together to support both cyber career choices and our own wider Cyber Choices program.

We also had the chance to engage with numerous teachers and educators who were visitors to the air show but then took away Cyber messaging and ambition to arrange future events & presentations for their pupils.

The day really was a huge success on a community engagement front, but importantly key partnership building to bring our regional aspirations for the future into reality.

The event was only possible through ever present continued support from RAF leadership, and especially the flexibility and resilience of our own RCCU Prevent and Prepare team, West Mercia and West Midlands officers, and our Volunteers – who deserve full credit.

The work also comes as we continue to target serious organised crime as part of our Operation Target commitment. As well as targeting offenders who look to profit from the misery of their victims, the Op Target also works towards preventing this type of activity from taking place.