E-crime unit 'on track' despite funding delay

Summary:Police chief Charlie McMurdie claims the national UK cybercrime policing unit is still set to go ahead, despite the government not yet committing to its £1.3m start-up costs

Plans for a national UK cybercrime policing unit remain on track despite the government stalling on funding, according to the Metropolitan Police Service's e-crime chief .

Detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie, one of the architects of the proposed Policing Central e-Crime Unit (PCEU), said regular talks are taking place between government, police bodies and industry about how to fund and run the unit.

Funding for PCEU has been slow to arrive, with the government still not committing to its £1.3m start-up costs, despite expectation that the money would be in place months ago.

It comes after Home Office minister Vernon Coaker told a House of Lords science and technology committee that the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) could take the lead on co-ordinating e-crime investigations nationwide.

But McMurdie said the government's vision for the NFRC does not undermine the need for the PCEU.

She said: "It is moving towards addressing the problem. The more intelligence we have on cybercrime and the more opportunities there are to report it, the better we will be able to put resources in the most appropriate place.

"But the PCEU business case is that we need that enhanced picture of cybercrime, it is about joining up a lot of good work that is already going on in agencies."

McMurdie was speaking during the e-Crime Wales Summit 2008, where a national force to fight cybercrime in Wales was launched.

The multimillion pound drive will allow the public to report cybercrime to a central body through the e-crime Wales website, fund cybercrime training for local officers and provide workshops for businesses across the country.

Overseeing the Welsh national response will be a new e-crime sergeant and four dedicated officers, who will work with business and high-tech crime units in local forces.

North Wales police has also launched Datris, a public-private partnership, to provide computer forensics to the public and police forces. It will start by helping clear North Wales police's backlog of computer analysis work.

Topics: Security

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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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