City of London police chief Adrian Leppard has defended the force's work in tackling the growing threat of cybercrime, claiming it is achieving success.
The commissioner said that, despite recent criticisms from the Home Affairs Select Committee that said the UK is losing the war on online criminal activity, he believes police efforts are proving successful.
Leppard was also responding to a stinging critique from The Times columnist Matthew Parris, who said, commenting on the Home Office committee report, that police are not doing anything about internet fraud and crime and should give up on trying to tackle cybercrime.
However, the commissioner rubbished this idea in his response to the article, claiming great strides are being made by the police.
“My direct response to that and to your readers is that my force and all those across the country will do no such thing, especially now that we are starting to get our hands on the tools that are enabling us to properly engage with this new breed of criminals,” he said.
"Government has put new money into cyber and intellectual property security and the policing of organised crime, and the UK is doing as much if not more than most other countries to protect their citizens."
Leppard also outlined the fact that new centres to tackle cyber crime will be coming online later this year, designed to more effectively tackle the problem.
“In the autumn there will be a new National Crime Agency and within it will be a National Cyber Crime Unit and a dedicated Economic Crime Command both of which are already forging partnerships in conjunction with industry,” he said.
"This will be well supported by the City of London Police, the National Policing Lead for fraud and other agencies that are already working together within the new Economic Crime Command of the National Crime Agency to target organised crime gangs.”
However, the Home Office report from last month had said that a "state of the art espionage response centre" was also needed to help combat the growing tide of cyber attacks targeting British industry.
Despite this the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has also recently claimed it is having success in the war against cyber criminals, after it outlined numerous actions against crooks in its annual report, before it is incorporated into the NCA.
However, Ross Brewer, vice president at security firm LogRhythm, was less sanguine than Leppard, claiming his stance was “naïve”.
“Sadly, this letter shows the UK’s public bodies to be incredibly naïve when it comes to the extent of the cybercrime problem – also evidenced by the Home Office’s recent report, which claimed crime against British businesses had fallen, but failed to include cybercrime in its statistics,” he said.
“Time and time again we are seeing the government and our criminal investigators failing to take online crime seriously and this urgently needs to change.”
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