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e-crime efforts to be improved in Home Office strategy

An organised cybercrime strategy, published by the Home Office, has promised to beef up law enforcement's e-crime strategy in an effort to curb the threat.

In a tacit admission that previous policies for tackling online fraud and cyber crime have not worked, a joint report by the Home Office and the Cabinet Office vows to hone in on cybercrime.

The 'Extending our reach: a comprehensive approach to tackling serious organised crime' report says much tighter coordination between departments is needed to keep a grip on organised crime.

"To combat the e-crime threat, the Home Office, supported by the newly created Office for Cyber Security in the Cabinet Office, will lead an urgent review of the governance, roles and responsibilities for e-crime, and publish a refreshed e-crime strategy by December 2009," the report said.

The strategy will look at how the government works with the private sector and foreign governments to build a proper picture of crime. Organised crime, including cybercrime, costs the UK £40 billion every year, according to official figures.

But the government admitted that cross-departmental actions on e-crime were lacking, and that there was some confusion on how to fight the problem. It said it needed to have "a clearer cross-government strategy on international serious organised crime".

In a foreword to the report, Gordon Brown, prime minister, said the government had "invested in new crime fighting technology and brought in new powers to target the criminals and recover their assets".

Whitehall is focusing on the fight against e-crime, admitting that it often leads to identity fraud, which then facilitates the buying of goods and services fraudulently "on an industrial scale".

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