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Computer Crime

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to improve police officers' training to investigate computer crime.

The police staff college runs a 20-day course for computer crime investigators entitled "Investigative Techniques in Computer Crime". The course is subject to continuous review and takes account of suggestions from forces and regular contact with the computer crime unit of the Metropolitan police.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, although the Metropolitan police is well equipped to investigate highly sophisticated crimes, the 43 provincial forces are not? Will he confirm that, if necessary, they can enlist the help of specialist computer firms with their inquiries, and would not it be a good idea if they were to add computer security to their crime prevention campaigns?

My hon. Friend's question is a matter for chief police officers. One of the advantages of the course that I mentioned is that officers from all police forces make contacts that enable them to know where to obtain additional expertise in the private sector, and it also enables them to have contact with the computer crime unit of the Metropolitan police, whose skills they can take advantage of.

Insist? The hon. Gentleman is a member of the Chairman's Panel. He knows that I take points of order at their proper time, not in the middle of questions.

I am sorry, but I cannot hear what is going on in this place. Could the instruments be adjusted to enable us to hear? Could they possibly be turned up so that we can hear what Ministers and others are saying? It is important.

This is in the hands of the House. If hon. Members do not make a noise or interrupt from the Back Benches, they will hear. The louder the microphones are turned up, the greater is the reflection from the amplifier back to the microphones. It makes even more noise.