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Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Scots to join cybercrime fight

Scottish police are to be given full access to the UK's first internet policing group devoted to tackling cybercrime.

Home Secretary Jack Straw launched the National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) on Wednesday in a move welcomed by Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace.

The unit will lead the fight against crimes such as internet fraud, computer hacking and paedophilia.

Much of its work will concentrate on trapping members of paedophile gangs such as the Wonderland Club - seven of whom were jailed earlier this year for their part in the world's largest paedophile ring.

Jim Wallace
Jim Wallace: Pledged to tackle cybercrime
The unit includes experts from the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), National Crime Squad, HM Customs and Excise and police forces.

Mr Wallace said: "Crime on the internet is a serious and growing problem, affecting everyone from businesses facing hackers, to victims of internet fraud, to children exploited by paedophiles.

"It is vital that our law enforcement agencies can respond to these threats.

"The new unit will use the latest technology to police the 'information highway', detecting criminal activity and leading operations to prevent it.

"This will provide significant additional support to the expertise we already have."

The unit will operate at both national and international level, working in partnership with the business, IT world and law enforcement agencies to assess trends in cybercrime, gather intelligence, and co-ordinate and support operations.

Girl at computer
Computer crimes are becoming more sophisticated
Meanwhile the Scottish Executive revealed that funding has been provided for seven NCIS officers.

Mr Wallace said: "High-tech crime knows no borders and close co-operation is crucial.

"Scottish law enforcement agencies are ahead of the game here and are already working together to take advantage of emerging technology, something we backed by funding the Scottish intelligence database.

"I am pleased that we have been able to fund these extra seven officers.

"This shows our commitment to ensuring forces benefit fully from enhanced intelligence in the fight against crime."

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See also:

29 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Net paedophiles face crackdown
13 Nov 00 | UK Politics
'Cyber cops' plan unveiled
27 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
Hacking: A history
11 Feb 00 | UK
A - Z: Hack attack
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