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Internet Crime Prevention

Volume 489: debated on Wednesday 11 March 2009

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of issues affecting Wales. The UK and Welsh Assembly Governments are working closely with law enforcement bodies, industry and financial institutions to combat crimes committed over the internet.

I ask for an assurance that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the First Minister will give continued support to e-Crime Wales, which, along with the Yorkshire e-business centre, provides the best example of how to tackle online crime. Does my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary agree that digital inclusion requires Wales specifically and the UK generally to be made the safest place to do business online, whether that business is personal or commercial?

My right hon. Friend makes a good point. The digital inclusion agenda must include the measures he talks about. He referred to e-Crime Wales, and it is holding a series of business breakfasts around Wales in February and March this year, to keep businesses up to date with the latest threats, and to tell them what steps they can take to minimise the risks of the damaging effects of e-crime. Moreover, e-Crime Wales has produced a number of extremely useful fact sheets on its website for business and individuals. All of that clearly shows that we are firmly committed to developing this agenda for the safety of everyone.

Does the Minister agree that there is little prospect of doing anything meaningful about internet crime when Welsh police forces are facing such drastic cuts to their budgets that they have to reduce the numbers of front-line police officers in many parts of the Principality?

The fact of the matter is, of course, that there is no reduction in front-line policing. Of course there are efficiency measures taking shape, and bureaucracy is being reduced, but we are seeing better front-line policing throughout the length and breadth of Wales. That is very significant and far different from what the Opposition would do if they ever had power, for goodness’ sake.