New £7m specialist e-crime unit launches
30 September 2008
A new £7M police unit dedicated to tackling electronic crime and internet fraud was announced today.
The new Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) will provide specialist officer training and coordinate cross-force initiatives to crack down on on-line offences.
E-crime is a global menace. An estimated 80%-90% of crime on the internet (excluding crime relating to children or images of child sexual abuse) is believed to be fraud-related.
The new 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.
Based in the Metropolitan Police Service, the PCeU will work with the NFRC and support the development of the police response to e-crime across the country.
Home Office minister's statement
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 Police Central e-crime Unit will work closely with the National Fraud Reporting Centre to tackle electronic crime reported to it. This will ensure that the National Fraud Reporting Centre has support in this highly specialised area.
'The Police Central e-crime Unit will also play a vital role in helping police forces across the country improve skills and techniques needed to clamp down on e-crime.'
Association of Chief Police Officers' statement
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for e-crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams, 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's statement
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.'"