Additional police officers trained in combating cyber crime are to be deployed in Scotland.

Police Scotland has also announced plans to establish a “centre of excellence” for cyber crimes, with at least 150 specialist staff.

Its focus will be on offences such as child sexual abuse, fraud, and the sharing of indecent images.

The force has said online sexual crimes against children have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

June was the busiest month ever for reported child sexual abuse.

Police Scotland recorded 226 crimes, an increase of 21% on the same month the previous year.

Deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham said: “The nature of crime is changing and Police Scotland needs to change with it. The online space is becoming a bigger part of the front line of policing every day.

“As well as keeping people safe on the streets, our officers and staff are keeping children safe on their computers and smartphones in every community in Scotland.

Mr Graham added: “While cyber crimes are under-reported, we know we are stopping vulnerable people from being defrauded and adapting our techniques in response to criminals who are doing the same.”

The centre for excellence is intended to bring together 100 officers and staff already working in cyber criminality and a further 50 staff initially.

There are further plans for this number to increase.

The cyber crime strategy will be put before the Scottish Police Authority board later this week.