Recruiting and retaining people with cyber skills is one of the top challenges to law enforcement, says the head of the Metro Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).
"The shortage of skills is a real issue," Charlie McMurdie, detective superintendent, PCeU told the Cyber Security 2010 Summit in London.
While the operational side of the PCeU is concerned with stopping criminal activities, the unit is also tasked with improving national police cyber capabilities.
"We are looking for ways to improve our forensic response to cyber crime and how to use the internet proactively in police work," said McMurdie.
Because these skills are in short supply and high demand, they are often lost to the private sector which is able to offer much higher financial rewards, she said.
But the PCeU has been able to punch above its weight of only 40 core members, said McMurdie, by drafting in expertise from the financial and other key industrial sectors.
Highlighting to several successes in recent months in arresting members of various cybercriminal gangs, she said the PCeU's virtual task force had played a key role.
Despite being thin on resources, the PCeU has tapped into private sector expertise to focus on major criminal trends causing national harm.
Economic cyber crime is causing the most harm, and has therefore been a strong focus for the PCeU, which has a national responsibility," said McMurdie.
"Our recent successes would not have been possible without the input from our partners in the private sector," she said.