Computer Crime Research Center


Police learning to fight online crime

Date: January 20, 2005
By: Daniel Thomas

Police officers in England and Wales are to receive basic training in tackling computer and internet-related crimes.

An elearning course will be introduced later this year following calls from the Home Office to create a national 'netcrime training and delivery' programme (Computing, 16 December 2004).

Officers will receive training to tackle rising instances of identity fraud, extortion, piracy and child pornography.

Centrex, the UK's Central Police Training and Development Authority plans to introduce an elearning portal by May, focusing on a range of skills from how to deal with the public reporting of internet crimes through to locking down an electronic crime scene.

Nigel Jones, head of high-tech crime training at Centrex says that while steps are being taken to teach new recruits, much more needs to be done to educate England and Wales' 140,000 working police officers who have 'little or no training' in tackling computer-based crime.

'A computer could contain all the information and evidence an officer needs to solve a crime but if they don't know what's in front of them they're not going to seize it,' he told Computing.

'What we used to call computer crime is now part of main stream policing and any crime can have an IT component to it,' he said. 'So any one involved in policing needs to have an understanding of IT for every day investigations.'

The course will teach police officers how to handle crimes committed online, and those physical world crimes that exploit technology. It will be available using the National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies' elearning portal run by Centex and The Metropolitan Police Service.

'It's great that we have started to capture police at an entry level but we also need to train other officers that come across crimes using computers, mobile phones and PDAs,' said Jones.

Last month the Home Office's The future of netcrime now report warned that greater resources and training were needed at a local police authority level to tackle crimes falling outside the remit of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which investigates internet-based organised crime.

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