A research company has warned that the police are facing "a potentially serious security problem", following publication of a report which found the UK force's IT security severely lacking.
Networking and security specialist Kasten Chase interviewed IT managers from just under a quarter of the country's 57 police forces to find their arrangements for IT security.
"We found a shortage of funding for IT security among police forces, matching the general shortage of IT funding in the service," commented Nick Craddock, product marketing manager for Kasten Chase. "This absolutely needs to be addressed."
Although the police hold highly sensitive electronic information on crimes, suspects and on-going investigations, only a quarter of those surveyed said they had a coherent IT policy, and none had a specific budget geared to protecting their IT systems from security breaches. This was in spite of the fact that three out of four professed to be aware or concerned about IT security issues.
More than half of police forces use a non-secure wide area network (WAN) to share information between sites, while a third use notebook computers to handle sensitive data with no security at all. Perhaps because of higher profile concerns about Internet safety, all forces connected to the web (25%) have Internet security measures in place.
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