Countdown to new UK e-crime unit may start soon
The UK may soon once again have a policing unit dedicated to internet crime. The Metropolitan Police central e-crime unit, first mooted in October 2006, seems at last near launch. At the Infosecurity Europe expo in London last week Metropolitan Police Service's detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie said: "I'm fairly convinced we'll get the required sum of £5.3m some way or the other. We're looking at days rather than months." The response to this initiative has generally been positive, despite considerable speculation that funding will mainly come from the private sector rather than government.
This isn't the first time an e-crime unit has been created in the UK. On 3 April 2006, the £25m National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, described at its inauguration as "the lynchpin in the UK's response to cybercrime" was subsumed into a newly created Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) with the result that "… the NHTCU is no longer providing individual responses to enquiries either via this web site or direct email contacts. If you are a member of the public wishing to report a crime or criminal attempt, please contact your local police force within your country of residence". The NHTCU formed the hub of a network of around 40 regional Hi-Tech Crime Units (HTCUs). Although the HTCUs have remained in service, the loss of the central agency has left many forces struggling to cope with the technicalities of investigating e-crime.