E-crime victims uncertain where to turn

E-crime victims uncertain where to turn

Summary: The lack of a central reporting point for e-crime in the UK means businesses are often uncertain how to report such incidents, according to a report by the Association of Chief Police Officers

TOPICS: Security

Victims of e-crime are not sure where they should report such crimes, a police strategy body has warned.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said in its inaugural e-crime report, published on Wednesday, that there was currently "no central reporting point for e-crime in the UK, and as a result victims of e-crime are often uncertain about how, and to whom, they should report an e-crime incident".

The Acpo report said regional specialist e-crime response pilot schemes could be set up.

"One option being actively pursued is the brigading of specialist e-crime resources from forces in each region into collaborative e-crime hubs," said the report.

"This follows the model successfully implemented in some other areas of specialist policing, bringing together a critical mass of e-crime specialists within each region to create a centre of excellence in e-crime policing."

Businesses are currently asked to report e-crime to their local police stations. However, the police have long recognised that this situation is inadequate — many local officers are non-specialist, and crime figures cannot easily be gathered.

As a result, central e-crime reporting point, called the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC), is in the process of being set up. The centre, which was announced in October 2008, will be co-ordinated by the National Fraud Authority (NFA) and is due to become operational in the new year, with a pilot due this October.

The authority that used to co-ordinate the police response to e-crime was the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), before it was subsumed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in April 2006.

At the time, IT security experts pointed out that, if incidents looked like low-level fraud committed by an individual, this would not fall under the remit of Soca. In addition, local non-specialist police may not have been interested in investigating crime that appeared to have been committed outside their area, said the experts.

A year after the NHTCU was disbanded, the Metropolitan Police said they were "overwhelmed" by e-crime, and proposed the creation of the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU). This unit was formed in 2008, having received £7m funding over three years.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • e-crime? Not our job, squire...

    I received a very convincing phishing email, and phone my local police, who I know have a hi-tech crime unit. They sent me to the Home Office, who sent me to two other places, one of which sent me back to the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, which is exactly where I started!
    I think an easier solution for me would be to find out the originator, and go round with a baseball bat...
    And we're going to trust these people to with ID cards? Don't make me laugh.
  • Its always....

    Being the case with the British police forces they don't know there asses from there elbows, if there not competing with one another there out collecting fines, they have become glorified tax wardens.

    Don't get me started on there fast track schemes either, E-crimes units Ha we'll the governments going to need some one to enforce there new anti p2p policies.