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Police Commissioner: UK just “skimming the surface” cybercrime battle

Police across the UK are just “skimming the surface” with the efforts to tackle cybercrime, Britain’s most senior Policeman has said.

In an interview with Sky News (opens in new tab), Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe (opens in new tab) explained how the Met (opens in new tab) are approaching growing cyber threats.

According to Sir Bernard, hundreds of extract officers are being recruited in the fight against online crime – the Met have already gained around 300 officers and expects to add another 200 in the next year.

However, the Police Commissioner says law enforcement agencies are facing operational challenges combating child abuse images on the Internet in the face of budget cuts and demands from other areas of Policing.

“I think we’re only skimming the surface. A lot of it is about stealing money and scamming, sometimes it’s about stealing an idea from a business,” Sir Bernard claimed.

“When there are hundreds of thousands of horrible images of children online and we’re trying to track down all these people, it has proved a logistical problem.

“It’s incredibly important but there are other important things too; terrorism and murder investigations, the pubs will turn out tonight and there will be fights; there will be armed robberies and anti-social behaviour.

“There is less money spent on Policing so there have to be hard decisions made by society and the Police. It’s a massive challenge but we make reasonable decisions based upon what the threat is,” he added.

“Encouraging efforts”

While the Met Police Commissioner has admitted the surface is just being skimmed when it comes to tackling cybercrime, application security company Veracode (opens in new tab) has welcomed the efforts that Police across the country have been making to face this problem head on.

“It is encouraging to hear the Police recognise the massive scope of cybercrime and the significant feat that the Police face in dealing with it,” claimed the firms Solutions Architect John Smith.

“However, whilst there is much more investment to be made, across the UK, Police forces are already making impressive strides in training officers to deal with the next generation of cybercrime,” he added.

Earlier this year, Veracode conducted research which revealed the number of Police officers undertaking cybersecurity training since 2010 has risen dramatically (opens in new tab).

“Sir Bernard’s remarks and the increased training shows that the Police have woken up to the new world of cybercrime, but continued investments is essential if the Police are to be an effective force in stopping cybercriminals and bringing them to justice,” said Smith.