Wales is to set up a high-tech crime unit that will offer businesses a one-stop shop for reporting computer crimes and for seeking advice on securing their IT systems.
The unit, due to start operations in July, could pave the way for the introduction of a similar unit covering the rest of the UK under plans being discussed by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The unit, which will be staffed jointly by police and private security specialists, will plug a gap left in high-tech policing in Wales following the closure of the UK's National High-Tech Crime Unit.
"For businesses and people phoning in with any concerns, it will be much simpler. They will have instant access to IT advisers with crime investigators in same room, who can give immediate advice," said detective chief superintendent Chris Corcoran of North Wales Police.
The unit plans to ensure that all 10,000 police officers in Wales go through basic e-crime training, both online and in the classroom, so that they know how to respond when businesses report virus and hacking attacks.
It will also trawl existing crime records to build up a picture of the most vulnerable businesses and technology, and work with firms to raise awareness of security risks.
"We want to educate our own offices on the ground and on the beat, so if they get complaints from businesses on e-crime they have some basic knowledge and will be able to give some simple do's and don't's in the initial call. They will know how to record the crime properly," said Corcoran.
The unit aims to research the impact computer crime is having in Wales by creating a recording system that will help police to identify computer-related crimes among other crime reports.
The unit plans to trawl existing crime records to build up a picture of the most vulnerable businesses and technology.
"We want to put intelligence in place so we know what businesses are most vulnerable and what products are most vulnerable, so we can start to concentrate our work in those areas," he said.
The unit aims to work with businesses to raise their awareness of security risks, and to help them introduce security systems that, over time, will reduce e-crime in the region.
The agency has won backing from employers including HSBC bank and solicitors Morgan Cole, which are contributing advice and resources.
The Association of Chief Police Officers is seeking government backing for a similar one-stop shop for businesses to report computer crime in the rest of the UK.
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