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Policing in the Digital Age

Three of the UK’s senior police chiefs gave members of the Security and Resilience Network a fascinating insight into the challenges the police face in tackling cyber-crime, but also the opportunities that arise from the new digital age.

In a rare joint public appearance, the Commissioner of the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe; the Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian Leppard; and the Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, gave a frank and eloquent account of the difficulties on countering a new and pervasive threat.

They made clear that tackling cyber-crime was a major priority now that fraudsters, drug dealers and terrorists were increasingly operating online.

This was happening at the same time as police forces were struggling to gather evidence from computers.

The Evening Standard reported quoted Sir Bernard when he called for “a mature debate on police powers in tackling cyber-crime”, noting that “Google and Tesco’s intrusion into our lives is pretty remarkable for what is a commercial benefit”.

Computer Weekly quoted Keith Bristow head of the NCA who said law enforcement officers do not have a political role but need to speak up and set out the reality of the situation for the public.

He said, “there is work we can do to better explain how we need to operate in the new world, and I think we need to communicate directly with the public to explain this very clearly and set out choices’.

City Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard said that the government has a role to play in providing legislation. The issue of policing in the digital age “is at a watershed moment, we must take action”, he said, calling for a debate on changes to the law.

Contact: Robert Hall, rhall@londonfirst.co.uk

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