Feeds

UK police chiefs mull regional cybercrime squads

We're the eSweeney son, and we ain't had any dinner

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

British police chiefs are drawing up plans to set up regional "cybercrime" squads along the lines of existing teams tasked to handle anti-terror operations.

The idea - still in its formative stages - is the brainchild of the Association of Chief Police Officers, and reflects concern that existing efforts are not enough to keep auction fraud, malware, hacking and other forms of cybercrime in check, the FT reports.

Government plans to develop a national cyber-security strategy, more details on which are expected to emerge later this week, are likely to include plans to create a new Cabinet Office unit.

Meanwhile, senior police chiefs are separately debating the prospects of establishing regional e-crime squads and to provide better training for regular police officers in how to handle reports on cybercrime.

An ACPO spokeswoman confirmed that the FT's take on the plan, discussed during a recent conference, is broadly accurate. "We are trying to develop a more consistent approach to handling cybercrime as part of the development of an e-crime strategy," she told El Reg.

"How many regional cybercrime squads there might be, or where they will be based, is yet to be determined. The plan needs to be ratified by ACPO before I can go into details."

A timetable for ratification is not available as such, but the spokeswoman hinted that this would happen in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Members of the public and businesses have long complained that cybercrime reporting structures in the UK are confusing at best. Consumers hit by fraud have been pointed towards their bank or online auction house, for example. Corporates have no obvious point of contact, especially after the NHTCU was folded into SOCA three years ago.

"It has been an ad hoc and piecemeal approach," one senior officer told the FT. "There is a lack of knowledge, particularly among detectives."

Janet Williams, head of intelligence and covert policing at the Metropolitan Police, is pushing ACPO's e-crime strategy. It's hoped that regional cybercrime units could take some pressure off the new Police Central e-Crime Unit, whose modest £7.4m three-year budget has been criticised by some observers as insufficient.

The proposed cybercrime squads would take their lead from the Scotland Yard-based PCeU, mimicking the type of structure already in place to combat terrorism.

The PCeU has established partnerships with the banking industry to run virtual task-forces, an idea partially hampered by reluctance on the part of banks to share information. Still, police chiefs are optimistic this model could be expanded to partnerships with retailers and property companies, who have also suffered from the rise in cybercrime.

The strategy of establishing regional e-crime squads and nationwide training of front-line officers is seen as a way of plugging gaps in a national strategy to combat cybercrime, which is still in the process of being implemented. Policing structures in Britain for tackling cybercrime are already complex (as we've noted before), even without factoring in the regional cybercrime squad idea.

It may well be that regional Computer Crime Units (which already exist in larger forces such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands) become regional cybercrime squads without adding any extra complexity, but since the whole scheme is still in flux, that's speculation on our part. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.