Businesses lack confidence in police e-crime handling

Companies have expressed concerns over whether police have the resources, technical knowledge or remit to handle cybercrime

Businesses are not confident that the police have the necessary resources or technical knowledge to deal with e-crime effectively, a survey has found.

The survey, Is Organised Electronic Crime On The Rise?, was conducted by the Corporate IT Forum, a conglomerate of 150 blue-chip companies, and released on Monday. Respondents also expressed concern that local constabularies do not have the remit to tackle international computer crime.

"In our experience, few electronic crimes are taken seriously by the police," said one respondent to the survey. "The volume of phishing attacks and lack of law-enforcement capability makes reporting all attacks unrealistic," said another.

Over half of companies (56.7 percent) felt e-crimes would not be investigated properly if reported to police; while 30 percent believed there was no-one they could report cybercrime to, despite the announcement in October of the formation of the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) in 2009.

Some respondents said the 2006 amalgamation of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) into the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) had taken away the main UK computer-crime reporting mechanism.

"Most local forces do not have the resources to deal with e-crime, and the loss of the NHTCU was significant as it was a focus," said one respondent.

Corporate confidence in the UK government's response to cybercrime was also low, according to David Roberts, chief executive of the Corporate IT Forum.

"IT chiefs in UK PLCs don't think the government appreciates the scale of the cybercrime threat, the seriousness of the threat, or how much it's costing," said Roberts. "Business confidence in the government's ability to help them fight cybercrime is at rock-bottom."

Firms called for harsher penalties and stricter laws to curb computer crime. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would give their highest level of support to "consistent and appropriate penalties for cybercriminals".


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