Ruth Mitchell

Firms call for national e-crime squad to fight online threat

A national cyber squad is needed to tackle the growing threat of online crime, according to a new survey on business crime. Three out of four businesses polled by the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) believe that a central team with pooled expertise is needed at a national level because e-crime is not restricted to geographical boundaries.

Businesses are coming under increasing pressure from cyber crime which can range from the deluge of spam mail, cited by 94% as a pressing problem, to complex fraud against companies and institutions.

Three out of every five companies had fallen victim to a significant crime in the past 12 months, according to the survey. However 60% of respondents believe that crime against business was a small problem or not a problem at all in their area.

The survey showed that a gap still exists in communication between the police and businesses with more than 30 per cent saying that they would not report a crime because of lack of confidence in the police response.

Ross Smith, head of policy at NECC, said: “The fact that 43% of businesses questioned felt that Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships were very effective is encouraging. It proves that we need to get different organisations onboard and to work together to have a real impact on crime levels. We cannot expect the police alone to tackle this issue. It needs the collective efforts of us all fight business crime. “The police need to replicate the success of these partnerships around the region to make it the standard.”

Nearly 60% of businesses questioned said they should be given a greater role in local crime partnerships.

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