Prime Minister's Office answers to UK e-Crime petition

Back in November 2007, Neil Stinchcombe from EskenziPR, the organisation behind the Infosecurity event, launched an e-Petition which aimed at convincing the government to give the formation of a police central e-crime unit, as proposed by the Metropolitan and ACPO urgent priority.

By the 29th of February 2008, 465 e-signatures have been collected and this morning, Gordon Brown's office issued a short response, two weeks after the official deadline:

Thank you for the e-petition, asking for the Government to give priority to the creation of an e-crime unit as proposed by the Metropolitan Police Service and ACPO.

The Government takes seriously all forms of crime, and has passed legislation to support the prosecution of those who steal data and attack IT systems, or who create the technical mechanisms to support such attacks

The Government is currently in receipt of the proposal by the Metropolitan Police Service and ACPO and are actively considering the issues it has raised and the value of creating such a unit.

Government has allocated £29 million over 3 years to implement the recommendations of the Fraud Review. This includes the creation of a National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA) which will drive forward a comprehensive strategy for tackling fraud, bringing together the Government, criminal justice practitioners, business and the public. It also includes a new national lead force role for the City of London Police and National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) which will collect and analyse data on all types of fraud (including online fraud), equip law enforcement agencies with a powerful intelligence tool and help form the basis of better prevention advice and alerts to fraud threats for business and the public.

Both the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) have 24 hour reporting mechanisms aimed at members of the public to report instances of child abuse or websites containing child abuse images.

The National Hi Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) was originally part of the National Crime Squad (NCS), and moved into SOCA along with the rest of NCS in 2006. The name was changed to SOCA e-crime to reflect the new organisation. SOCA e-crime has more resources than the NHCTU and greater international reach via SOCA's international liaison network. The e-crime unit brings together experts from different organisations under one roof and has already developed a national e-Crime strategy with key partners. This aims to improve links with industry and to develop ways for educating businesses and the public about e-crime.

The Government is committed to providing adequate responses to this area of crime in a unified way without duplicating the work carried out by other organisations.