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UK Police invest in the hunt for cybercriminals

UK Police invest in the hunt for cybercriminals

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The UK is introducing regional hubs in an attempt to tackle the rising problem of cyber crime.

Police cyber crime teams have been created in the United Kingdom's Yorkshire and the Humber, the Northwest and East Midlands, in a bid to try and tackle the rising numbers of cyber criminals.

Three regional e-crime hubs are to be established as part of the effort, and will each receive their own team of three officers who will work in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime unit (PCeU).

The announcement was recently made during the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) e-crime conference in Sheffield.

In a statement, ACPO lead on e-crime Deputy Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams said:

The government has acknowledged a need to collaborate and provide a structured response to the cyber security of the UK and these three additional policing units are going to play a critical role in our ability to combat the threat.

While a training period is required before the hubs are fully functional, they will undoubtedly provide an enhanced ability to investigate this fast growing area of crime and provide an improved internet investigation capability.

It is hoped that the specialist hubs will contribute to the national harm reduction target of £504m ($794m). According to Williams, the police force have managed a reduction of £140m ($220m) within present capabilities -- and it is anticipated that the scheme, with an investment of £30m ($47.2m), will push the target further to fruition.

This announcement has arrived on the heels of calls for the UK government to invest in a central knowledge base for consumers affected by cyber crime, and for police officers to have extensive training in a field of crime which is rapidly gaining pace.

A recent report (.pdf) released by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on malware and cyber crime stated that although guidelines for police are clear, those outside the force are often left without a direct means to communicate their concerns.

The UK government has previously faced criticism for its lack of funding to battle the issue. it has now allocated £650m ($1.24bn) to tackle and prevent cyber crime, which is to be invested over the Coalition’s five-year tenure.

Image credit: Giuseppe Leto Barone

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure