The government is helping to set up an international network of e-crime prosecutors to help fight global digital crime.
The Global Prosecutors' E-Crime Network (GPEN) has been developed by the high-tech crime unit of the UK Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) international division, in conjunction with the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP).
It will comprise a database of e-crime prosecutors, a channel for exchanging advice, and host e-crime material including a virtual college.
UK attorney general Baroness Scotland said, "It is widely recognised that e-crime is the most rapidly expanding form of criminality and knows no borders. Prosecutors play a very significant role in combating e-crime, and their advice at an early stage of police investigation can be fundamental to success.
"The world of high-tech crime is ever changing and those fighting it have to keep up to date. This international network will speed up safe communication between specialists, enabling prosecutors to share best practice and training, and raise standards across continents."
It is expected a GPEN website will be fully operational next year. The site will house a database of e-crime prosecutors from across the world, a message board for exchanging advice and queries, a collection of e-crime material such as legal guidance, and a virtual e-crime prosecutors' college containing up-to-date training.
Esther George, of the CPS high-tech crime unit said, "We are delighted to kick-start this initiative because the network will enable prosecutors world-wide to join together to fight e-crime. It is one example of the many far-sighted approaches the CPS deploys to stay one step ahead of the criminals both domestically and on the world stage."
Francois Falletti, president of the International Association of Prosecutors said, "This network will present an outstanding opportunity for prosecutors all over the world to collaborate in order to more effectively combat cybercrime in all its manifestations."
The Council of Europe, Eurojust, and the US, Australian and Bahamas governments have all endorsed the project, so far. Specialist prosecutors from individual countries will be urged to become involved in the network through their membership of the IAP.
The CPS is one of the first prosecuting authorities to develop e-crime trained lawyers, who now number over 120.
The new database will aid legal cases against instances of fraud, the possession of indecent images of children and their grooming, and the distribution of malicious computer software.