By Andy McCue
8 October 2007
UK businesses are calling for a dedicated national police unit to deal
with the growing computer crime threat posed by hackers and
international gangs of criminals.
Organisations must currently report any attacks on their network or data
to local police computer crime units and there is concern at the lack of
co-ordination since the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was essentially
disbanded in 2006 and rolled into the Serious Organised Crime Agency
There is now no central body to collect and monitor national cyber crime
statistics and the Metropolitan Police Service admitted earlier this
year that local police computer crime units are being overwhelmed by the
growing scale of this type of crime.
Members of silicon.com's CIO Jury panel of IT users have now joined
calls for a centralised police computer crime body.
Simon Honey, head of business protection at investment bank Mitsubishi
UFJ Securities International, said: "The Home Office has not invested
enough into training police officers in the area of cyber crime as they
have the impression that big businesses should be able to look after
He added: "The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit performed a very good service
which is now lost."
Because Soca only deals with major computer crime incidents, the danger
is that smaller-scale ones will fall through the net, according to David
Supple, director of IT and creative services at Ecotec.
He said: "The police will probably end up treating minor e-crimes in the
same manner as real life minor crime - their resources simply won't
stretch that far and only the big headline crimes will be followed
through to prosecution."
But Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director at publisher Hachette Filipacchi
UK, said there are already plenty of private sector IT security and
computer crime investigation companies out there for businesses to turn
He said: "I think there are credible private sector security companies
who would be a first port of call to investigate if this was a concern.
As with other instances of commercial crime, how they are then dealt
with depends on the impact to the organisation. Much more occurs than is
made public by pursuing prosecution through the courts."
The Metropolitan Police Service is also pushing for a national computer
crime unit that would act as a central co-ordinator for police forces
across the country.
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