80% against funding cuts to Police Central e-Crime Unit, Sophos poll reveals

October 06, 2010 Sophos Press Release

IT security and data protection firm Sophos has announced that 80.46% of respondents to an online poll conducted by Sophos stated that they were against the recent funding cuts for the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU). Participants were asked, "The UK Government has cut funding to the cybercrime-fighting police by 30%. Was that the right thing to do?"

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, explained this weekend that, although the PCeU cost £2.75 million last year, it has been estimated that for every £1 spent, it prevented £21 in harm from potential theft. However, as most of the work conducted by this unit remains relatively unseen compared to traditional police work, some commentators argue that more resources should be put behind on-the-beat uniformed police officers, leaving the specialist work done by the PCeU to banks and retailers.

"The Met Police chief has every right to be concerned about the mismatched increase in cybercrime and the decrease in funding," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "As budget cuts for public sector organisations continue across the board, surely having sufficient funds to protect against the increasing threat of cybercrime is essential? Just last week, the PCeU arrested 19 people suspected of being part of a cybercrime gang that stole £6 million over the last three months. If that much money was being stolen from high street banks the old fashioned way, then you would certainly expect it to be investigated as a matter of priority rather than seeing budget cuts for the unit responsible for bringing down such criminals."