Who seriously believes that there is less "cyber crime" in the United Kingdom in 2008 than there was back in 2001 ?
Presumably the Home Office does, given its announcement of the paltry £3.5 million over three years funding which they are spending on the new Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU - hardly a memorable acronym),
See the Home Office Press release: New £7m specialist e-crime unit launches
Note the misleading headline figure of "£7 million" which is really only £3.5 million spread over 3 years, with the rest of the sum coming from the existing Metropolitan Police Service's Computer Crime Unit.
The PCeU will receive £3.5M of Government funding and £3.9M from the Metropolitan Police Service over three years
Who would have thought that Jack Straw's £25 million (again over 3 years) back in 2001, which set up the now defunct National Hi Tech Crime Unit would seem to be more generous ?
A copy of the NHTCU launch press release via Cyber Rights 18 April 2001 Launch of the United Kingdom's first National Hi-Tech Crime Unit
Spy Blog article from 2006: Serious Organised Crime Agency website launch signals a very low priority for Computer Crime
Parliamentary Written Answers on NHTCU and SOCA budgets and manpower:
- Commons Written Answer - 30 June 2008 - Electronic Crime
At SOCA's inception, in 2006, £8.509 million, in respect of NHTCU, was baselined into SOCA's funding.
- Commons Written Answer - Tuesday, 18 March 2008 - National High Tech Crime Unit: Manpower
The number of people employed in the National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) varied from time to time but in July 2005 there were 54 persons employed in the NHTCU.
The budgeted capacity of the SOCA e-crime unit is 58 posts. On 25 January 2008 51 of these posts were filled.
At least as important as the (lack) of funding for this new Unit, is how accessible and accountable it actually is to the general public and businesses.
We are not holding our breath to see if they launch a highly secure, highly available and informative website, with encrypted web form and email and 24/7 "real person who at least understands the technical jargon" phone line crime reporting and advice communications channels,
It looks as if other IT security professionals are similarly unimpressed - see this Silicon.com report Can £7m dent £105bn cyber crime menace?