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Government launches new e-crime unit

Ok, so this is outside of my main area of focus of sustainable and green tech but I do track some security issues too. I was at a meeting last week with Microsoft's security advisor and ex-FBI agent Ed Gibson (speaking at the RSA Security Conference, in London on 27 October) who told us to expect some news about a new e-crime unit and seems he was spot on as a message to that effect has just landed in my in-box.

Ok, so this is outside of my main area of focus of sustainable and green tech but I do track some security issues too. I was at a meeting last week with Microsoft's security advisor and ex-FBI agent Ed Gibson (speaking at the RSA Security Conference, in London on 27 October) who told us to expect some news about a new e-crime unit and seems he was spot on as a message to that effect has just landed in my in-box.

Having spoken to some ex National High Tech Crime Unit coppers, none of them seemed very happy to see the NHTCU collapsed into the Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCA) - so maybe this new unit will go some way to make up for that. Then it could just add another confusing layer to an already muddled strategy that has to be one of the reasons why companies are so backwards in coming forwards about reporting e-crime (that and the obvious brand damage etc)

Here's the release in full:

A new £7M police unit dedicated to tackling cyber crime and clamping down on internet fraud was announced by e-crime Minister Vernon Coaker today.

The new Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) will provide specialist officer training and co-ordinate cross-force initiatives to crack down on on-line offences.

E-crime is a global menace, and with an estimated 80-90 percent of crime on the internet (excluding crime relating to children or images of child sexual abuse) believed to be fraud-related the unit will focus on supporting the new National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) when it comes into operation in 2009. It will also work closely with other crime fighting agencies to tackle international and serious organised crime groups operating on the internet.

E-crime Minister Vernon Coaker said:

"It is important that we stay one step ahead of criminals who increasingly use sophisticated computer networks and the internet to commit and facilitate crime.

"The new PCeU will work closely with the NFRC to tackle electronic crime reported to it. This will ensure that the NFRC has support in this highly specialised area.

"The PCeU will also play a vital role in helping police forces across the country improve skills and techniques needed to clamp down on e-crime."

Based in the Metropolitan Police Service, the PCEU will work with the National Fraud Reporting Centre and support the development of the police response to e-crime across the country.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for e-crime, said:

"I am delighted that the Home Office has confirmed funding for this new unit that ACPO and law enforcement agencies have been developing. We can now work towards creating a national coordination centre to combat e-crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"It is our aim to improve the police response to victims of e-crime by developing the capability of the Police Service. We will be coordinating the law enforcement approach to all types of e-crime, and providing a national investigative capability for the most serious e-crime incidents."

Attorney General Baroness Scotland said:

"It is widely recognised that e-crime is the most rapidly expanding form of criminality and knows no borders. The network is a good example of the UK leading on an international initiative which improves our capability to prosecute e-crime.

"The new e-crime unit will work closely with the National Fraud Reporting Centre and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, both currently in development, recognising the fact the majority of e-crime is fraud-related. I believe this relationship will deliver a strong and emphatic response to fraudsters and help encourage public confidence in electronic services and communication."

City of London Police Commissioner Mike Bowron said:

"The City of London Police as lead force for fraud welcomes the Government's decision to fund a police e-crime unit. Once established, the unit will work closely with the City of London Police and other agencies as a key partner within the national fraud programme."

The Serious Organised Crime Association's Deputy Director for E-crime Sharon Lemon said:

"SOCA fully supports and welcomes the formation of the new Police Central e-Crime Unit. In conjunction with the National Fraud Reporting Centre, this will add real clarity to the reporting mechanisms for internet crime in the UK. SOCA looks forward to working closely with both bodies to gain a much more detailed picture of the nature of this crime. This will greatly assist in identifiying any aspects of Organised Crime's involvement in it, and enable SOCA to better fulfill its remit of tackling the most serious criminality and the consequent harm it causes to the UK."

Notes to editors:

1. The PCeU will receive £3.5M of Government funding and £3.9M from the Metropolitan Police Service over three years. The unit will also seek support from industry partners. The unit is expected to be operational in spring 2009.

2. Its creation builds on proposals by ACPO for increasing capacity and capability within the police service to get to grips with modern forms of hi-tech internet crime.

3. The Met will run the PCeU as a national resource, in conjunction with the National Fraud Reporting Centre and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

4. The PCeU will not overlap with existing organisations such as SOCA's e-crime unit or with CEOP, both of which have different and separate responsibilities, but the PCeU and these organisations will communicate regularly and will work together if required.

5. The ACPO Press Office can be contacted via 020 7084 8946/47/48 (office hours) or via 07803 903686 (out of office hours).

6. ACPO is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest and, in equal and active partnership with Government and the Association of Police Authorities, ACPO leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, coordinates the strategic policing response.

7. ACPO's 341 members are police officers of Assistant Chief Constable rank (Commanders in the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police) and above, and senior police staff managers, in the 44 forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and other forces such as British Transport Police and States of Jersey Police.