New e-crime unit finally gets funding

The Home Office has agreed to fund a 7 million Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), which will provide specialist officers and initiate cross-force investigations for on-line offences.

Expected to start in Spring 2009, The PCeU will receive 3.5 million of government funding and 3.9 million from the Metropolitan Police Service over three years. It is also actively looking for support from industry partners.

The unit will be based in the Metropolitan Police Service and will support the new National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) when it starts operations in 2009.

It is the culmination of proposals by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which aimed to increase the capacity and capability of the police to deal with increasingly hi-tech internet and electronic crime.

IT PRO initially detailed plans for the e-crime unit at his year's Infosec. The ACPO said that it could 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," said Janet Williams, ACPOs lead for e-crime and deputy assistant commissioner.

"We will be coordinating the law enforcement approach to all types of crime, and providing a national investigative capability for the most serious e-crime incidents."

The PCeU will not overlap with existing organisations like the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) e-crime unit which the Home Office said had different and separate responsibilities.

SOCA said it full support for the formation of the new unit, and it looked forward to working with the PCeU and the NFRC in painting a much clearer picture of the threat of e-crime.

SOCA's deputy director for e-crime Sharon Lemon said: "This will greatly assist in identifying any aspects of organised crime's involvement, and enable SOCA to better fulfil its remit of tacking the most serious criminality and the consequent harm it causes to the UK."