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Cybercrime

Volume 602: debated on Monday 16 November 2015

Cybercrime is a threat that the Government take very seriously. In the last Parliament, the Government committed £860 million to the national cyber-security programme, and we will continue to invest in that programme.

It is estimated that cybercrime is costing the UK at least £34 billion annually. If we add computer crime to October’s headline crime figures, we see that they more than double to over 14 million offences. Yet the City of London police, one of the lead forces, argue that less effort should be put into solving crimes against victims whom they judge not to have taken sufficient precautions. Does the Minister share my concern that this amounts to a charter for criminals?

No, I do not. I think that our personal security is a very important thing. We also have responsibilities as citizens to make sure that our computers in particular have the right software so that it is more difficult—not to stop it completely, but to make it more difficult—for cybercrime to take place. We are taking cybercrime very seriously, which is why we have put it in the crime statistics for the very first time.

Norwich airport in my constituency suffered a minor cyber-attack on its website last week. First, will the Minister join me in encouraging businesses to check their defences? Secondly, will he redouble his efforts to ensure that we are safe from cyber-terrorism in the light of the callous attacks, about which we are all agreed?

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. As I said, we have a responsibility personally, but so do companies. We are working very closely with the banks in particular, but all companies have a responsibility to protect the data they hold, particularly individuals’ personal data.