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National Crime Agency to include cybercrime unit

The National Crime Agency will include a central cybercrime unit, according to home secretary Theresa May.The unit and the National Crime Agency (NCA) will have operational capabilities, May told the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

The National Crime Agency will include a central cybercrime unit, according to home secretary Theresa May.

The unit and the National Crime Agency (NCA) will have operational capabilities, May told the House of Commons on Wednesday.

"The NCA will... house the national cybercrime unit, which will have its own investigative capacity and help local police forces to develop their own response to the online threat," said May.

The unit will act as "a centre of expertise on cybercrime", according to a strategy document published by the Home Office on Wednesday. It will work with police forces internationally, and provide advice and training for local police forces.

Centralised cybercrime policing is currently coordinated by the Metropolitan Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU). The Home Office on Wednesday declined to reveal its plans for PCeU.

The NCA, which the Home Office aims to become fully operational by December 2013, will take over serious organised crime operations from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Soca's e-crime unit and PCeU will have the same structures up to the Olympics in 2012, said the Home Office.

"There will continue to be close working between the Police Central e-crime Unit in the Metropolitan Police and Soca's e-crime unit to develop the national response to cybercrime in advance of the creation of the NCA, but with no change to structures prior to the Olympics," said the Home Office Strategy.

The NCA will incorporate the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (Ceop), which will have a funding decrease of 10 percent by 2014.

Former Ceop head Jim Gamble resigned in October 2010 over the government plans to meld Soca and Ceop into the NCA.

The Home Office advertised on Wednesday for an interim head for the NCA, a post that the Home Office wants to fill with a senior chief constable.

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