Met commissioner defends cyber sleuth unit

Fewer than 60 coppers work on fraud based cyber crime
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The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson issued a defense of the role of specialist police detectives in tackling the growing dangers of cyber crime.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Stephenson pained a bleak picture of a technologically outgunned small team of the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit while warning of "disturbing signs that ‘traditional’ British organised crime is waking up to the profits and uses of e-crime," he said.

"There is a risk that cyber crime will become their main source of cash flow. The modern Tony Soprano-style crime lord will have a cyber expert on hand."

Sir Stephenson defended the work of the unit in the face police cutbacks, arguing that a debate dominated by "uniforms before specialists" would not serve the public well and tackled a criticism that specialist cyber crime work should be undertaken by financial institutions. Sir Stephenson argued that police and business collaboration was necessary to be effective and this wouldn't be possible without the use of police specialists.

With 385 police officers engaged in online work, Sir Stephenson said that 85 per cent of them were tackling child exploitation and abuse images, likely the most publically defensible of police action in this area. Sir Stephenson pointed out that this gave some indication of how little specialist capacity was directed towards fraud based Cyber Crime, based on this numbers that would mean the police have fewer than 60 officers takling cyber crime throughout England and Wales. 

"Like a number of other major nations, we may find ourselves victims of our technological progress," warned Sir Stephenson, saying that while it was essential to maintain uniform presence, specialist detectives were "just as crucial to ensuring we are all better protected."

From: The Sunday Telegraph.

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