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Home Office considers new e-crime unit

£1.3m gov't body could tackle cybercrime

The Home Office is "considering" funding a proposed e-crime unit following a meeting with representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Last week, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker met ACPO representatives including the police's Computer Crime Unit boss, Charlie McMurdie, to discuss funding. In 2007, the police proposed £1.3m in initial funding for a centralised unit.

"No decision has been taken on the formation of an e-crime unit, but we will be considering how we take an overall approach to issues such as electronic fraud, and will be discussing these with a number of law enforcement agencies," a Home Office spokesperson said.

The government "takes this form of crime seriously", the spokesperson said.

Detective Superintendent McMurdie told PC Advisor's sister title Computerworld UK that the meeting with Coaker was "fairly positive" and expects to hear more news from the government in four to six weeks.

"He's asked us to leave it with him in the short term, to see if the funding is available."

McMurdie will soon leave the post as head of e-crime, in order to work in covert policing, which will also involve tackling hi-tech crime. ACPO is currently looking for a replacement to head the Computer Crime Unit, she said.

She had made strong calls for the need for a dedicated e-crime hub, noting that several other countries had taken more steps than Britain in providing the resources to tackle the problem.

Last week, prime minister Gordon Brown announced the government's National Security Strategy, which included promises to tackle cyber crime, but made no mention of any dedicated e-crime unit.

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