Paul Litherland - Serving the community for 27 years

SOS SOS

I was a WA Police Officer for 20 years, working in a wide range of areas. From 2009 to 2014, I was working within the Technology Crime Investigation Unit, which at the time was internationally recognised as one of the leading technology crime divisions in the world. I was involved in criminal investigations including hacking, online sales fraud and romance scams, to cases involving international syndicates.

I was also working specifically with children (and their families) who were either the victims of online crime, or the offenders themselves. I dealt personally with the victims of cyber bullying, grooming and predatory behaviour as well as the perpetrators. I came to know all too well the heartbreak parents were going through, as well as how frustrated they were with how little care the online world seems to show our kids. I felt driven to make change.

I realised there were limited resources available on the subject of internet awareness. During my time at Tech Crime I worked extremely hard in building my experience by working exclusively with teenagers and helping them understand the risks of the online world. I designed and conducted training packages for schools and other government organisations, but soon became frustrated at how poorly they were being delivered. I therefore set about targeting schools in my local area offering presentations personally, based on my experience, knowledge and insight into the dangers of the online world and what our kids can do to protect themselves.

Since 2009, I have focussed on all aspects of teenage computer use, social networking design as well as the psychological profiles of teenagers and the offenders that prey on them. Those attending my presentations were impressed with my content, subject knowledge and presentation style as well as the advice and solutions I offered. Before I knew it, other schools heard of what I was offering and I found myself presenting to many others around Perth.

I chose to leave the WA Police to pursue my dream of educating. I now present to over 600 schools across Australia, including some of our countries most prestigious colleges, as well as over 100 business and government organisations. Since 2014, over 280thousand Australian students have seen an SOS presentation. I am very proud to work with these communities and have built Surf Online Safe to be one of the foremost internet safety organisations in this country. I have worked with schools directly over the past 21 years both as a police officer and as an educator and have a great rapport with kids of all ages.

As a parent, I can add that extra insight to my presentations as I am more than aware of the fear and apprehension parents have regarding the internet and the dangers that are out there. It is difficult to be a parent in this technological age and this helps me target my presentations more specifically to schools requirements. Having said that, it is also difficult to be a kid in this age. So it is important to take a realistic approach to internet use to make users more aware of risk, rather than simply say "Don't do this" or "Don't do that". Together with my extensive history in law enforcement, I can assure you my presentations will have a very positive and inspiring impact on you and your kids.

I do not consider or call myself an expert! My ego is not that big! I am just someone who wants to make a difference and I believe I am. It is my ultimate goal to drive change here and overseas, to make the online world safer for all of us, especially our kids. My experience, knowledge and motivation will hopefully help me reach that goal and if I can help as many people as I can along the way, then I will continue to be proud of that.

SOS

For almost 30 years Paul has been making a significant difference in the lives of Australians. His contributions over that time are reflected in the many acknowledgements he receives;

  • Achievements

    Nominee - Australian Small Business Champion Awards 2020

    Finalist - Telstra Business Awards 2020

    Leading Campaigner - Successful Introduction of Intimate Image Abuse Legislation to WA 2019

    Nominee - Australian of the Year 2019

    Commendation - WA Police 2007

    Nominee - Police Officer of the Year 1999

    Commendation - WA Police 1999

    Commendation - WA Police 1998

  • Qualifications & Experience

    1994 - 2014 : Police Officer, WA Police

    Senior Lecturer - WA Police Academy

    Diploma in Public Speaking

    Certificate IV - Training and Assessment

    Police Officer, Technology Crime Investigation Unit

    Diploma in Social Media Marketing (Social Networking)

    A+ Certification, Computer Technology

    Certification, X-Ways Computer Forensics

  • Awards

    2022 WA Australian of the Year

    Australian Small Business Champion Awards Finalist

    National Star Medal

    National Service Medal

    WA Police Service Medal

    Pride of Australia Medal

    Police Officer of the Year Finalist