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Cybercrime

Volume 560: debated on Monday 25 March 2013

The Government’s approach to tackling online crime is set out in the national cyber-security strategy, which is underpinned by a £650 million programme of new investment over four years. This includes strengthening law enforcement capabilities by establishing the national cybercrime unit, which will lead the national and international response to tackling this issue.

Many security experts report that small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, but are not always well equipped to protect themselves. What progress are the Government making to ensure that small businesses get the support they need to pursue new business opportunities online with confidence?

My hon. Friend raises an important point about awareness and ensuring that we equip the public and business with the best advice and guidance on how to protect themselves from the threat from online criminals, which we do through Get Safe Online. We are focused equally on small businesses, however, which is the point he makes directly, and this spring the Government are looking to update the advice and guidance to business, focusing on those small businesses.

Cybercrime is not just about fraud; it is also about online bullying, which can devastate people’s lives and constitute a criminal offence. How confident is the Minister that local police forces have the expertise and the resources to deal with complaints about such crime?

The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point about the expertise within police forces. We are establishing the national cybercrime unit, not simply to deal with the most sophisticated, high-end internet crimes, but to be a centre of expertise and to make that expertise available to police forces up and down the country. That will put in place a more end-to-end approach in dealing with these forms of criminality, which cause so much harm.