The government has pledged £63m to fight cyber crime over the next four years as part of its £650m funding for national cyber security, according to reports.
Home secretary Theresa May revealed the amount at an informal meeting with the interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, said a report on eGov monitor.
The government stated its intention to get tough on cyber crime at the time of the Strategic Defence and Security Review last October when, despite cuts in most other areas of spending, Downing Street pledged a further £500m to a national cyber security programme.
The government said that it is keen to build on the existing knowledge and expertise in the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) .
Neill Blundell, partner and head of fraud at international law firm Eversheds, argued that the announcement is significant, given the scale of the austerity measures introduced by the coalition government.
"This type of crime is technically difficult to investigate and very expensive to tackle," he said.
"The government understands that the repercussions of failing to control such crime could be very serious indeed, not only to those it directly impacts on, but because the cost of such crime can impact on the wider business community and our economy as a whole."
Rob Cotton, chief executive of consultancy NCC Group, welcomed the funding announcement.
"Following the government’s budget cuts, it was inconceivable to think that the Police Central e-Crime Unit could have any impact on cyber crime whilst relying on favours from private sector companies and volunteer staff," he said,
"It is therefore good to see that this at last being taken seriously and given the scale of budget it needs."
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