MPs demand more funding for e-crime unit

MPs demand more funding for e-crime unit

Summary: The government has been urged to 'look again' at the £7m funding for the Police Central e-crime Unit

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TOPICS: Security
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MPs have called for more money to fund a new e-crime unit and end the image the UK is a "soft touch" on cybercrime.

In a parliamentary debate on internet fraud on Wednesday, MPs said the government needs to "look again" at the £7m funding for the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).

Conservative MP Nigel Evans said: "That amount of money may not be enough and the government may need to look at that again."

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake added: "There are concerns about whether £7m put into the e-crime unit will be sufficient and whether it will be sufficiently resourced to do the job in hand."

Criticism over the PCeU's funding is misguided, according to Home Office minister Alan Campbell, as the unit will be supported by other bodies under the £29m National Fraud Programme, which includes the National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA) and the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC).

He said: "This is not the only unit seeking to tackle online fraud. That figure is not the end of the story."

Politicians also expressed alarm at the admission by Campbell during the debate that the new NFRC, which will offer a single point of contact for reporting online and all other types of fraud, can not "promise that police will investigate every fraud reported".

People will be very concerned if they are reporting fraud and they are not necessarily going to see any action

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP

Lib Dem Brake said of the NFRC: "People will be very concerned if they are reporting fraud and they are not necessarily going to see any action."

Shadow crime-reduction minister, James Brokenshire, added that while he approved of the unit's creation, the UK is still not taking e-crime as seriously as it should.

"We do welcome the Police Central e-Crime Unit's creation. It is an admission by the government they were absolutely wrong to get rid of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit," he said.

"But we should be under no illusions that the Police Central e-Crime Unit is a panacea. There is the question over the resources it will have and the abilities it will have.

"E-crime is the most rapidly expanding form of crime in this country. If this government does not take e-crime seriously it reinforces in the mind of the criminal that this country is a soft touch."

Brokenshire added that he believes law enforcers don't have the intelligence to appreciate the scale of the problem, criticising police for not collecting figures on online fraud and also for the requirement that people report online fraud to banks, which are then not obliged to pass details on to police.

The shadow crime-reduction minister also claimed that in the past year a public servant has been disciplined for losing, or abusing access to, personal data every day, and said the Conservatives would make it a criminal offence for a public official to recklessly mishandle personal data.

Topic: Security

About

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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  • What financial crisis?

    More proof that our very well financed MPs are out of touch with the real world and financial crisis we live in. With Government driving us deeper into debt day they want more spending. Perhaps they would be better employed in finding wastage and not really necessary spending (like so many quangos and non jobs) to be removed from public financing and returned to the market place.
    hampshirehog