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The newly-established Police Central e-crime unit (PCeU) has scheduled a meeting with UK business later this month.

Around 150 members of The Corporate IT Forum will get a chance to quiz cybercops on the role and strategy of the PCeU at a meeting in Reading set for 24 February.

Based in Scotland Yard, the cybercrime unit has been given the job of providing specialist computer forensics training and coordinating efforts to fight internet scams and fraud across the country, through research and strategy development. The unit was created after intense lobbying from industry, and political pressure from the House of Lords science and technology committee, in the two years since the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) was amalgamated into the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

SOCA, which has a much larger range of responsibilities, only took reports of cybercrime indirectly leaving businesses with no clear way of reporting incidents. Simply by staging the meeting, the PCeU is showing a willingness to be far more approachable.

The PCeU is looking to pull in expertise from the private sector to help its work, a topic expected to be a key focus of the meeting.

David Roberts, chief executive of The Corporate IT Forum, said he hoped the meeting would lead to closer links between industry and the police in the fight against cybercrime. "We hope the meeting will result in the formation of a framework for that collaboration in future," he said.

The government has allocated £3.5m for the (PCeU) while the Metropolitan Police Service, from which the majority of officers in the new unit are drawn, has kicked in £3.9m to fund the unit for three years. The funding is a fraction of that received by equivalent US units. ®

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