Feeds

UK police chiefs mull regional cybercrime squads

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

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.