James Brokenshire has said the launch of a new National Cyber Crime Unit next week will mark a step change in the fight against gangs and individuals exploiting the internet for criminal gain. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the Security Minister said that the new unit would tackle the most significant and sophisticated cyber threats as well as supporting broader police work to arrest and disrupt online criminal networks and enhance officers' digital investigation skills.
The new unit which launches on 7 October has been operating in shadow form since March. It has already helped smash a $500million worldwide computer scamming ring and arrested a young person as part of an ongoing investigation into one of the largest cyber attacks ever seen - widely reported to have "slowed the internet down". James praised officers for their work on these and other complex investigations during a recent visit to the unit's headquarters.
Speaking at a fringe meeting hosted by the British Computing Society, James said:
"The National Cyber Crime Unit will provide the focus for our national response to combating serious cyber criminals. It will use its increased operational resources to deliver arrests, disruption and prevention. It will pro-actively pursue criminals, targeting them where they are most vulnerable."
James revealed that to help equip the next generation of digital detectives, over 2,000 officers within the new National Crime Agency were being trained to become digital investigators, complimenting the specialist team within the National Cyber Crime Unit. The College of Policing will also be training 5,000 police officers and police staff by 2015 to help drive up digital skills and provide a stronger local response to cyber-enabled crimes.
"This marks a step change in our response to combating cyber crime - confronting the criminals who threaten the public and driving up specialist capabilities and skills within policing." James said.