Police to sign up IT special constables in war on hackers

Tuesday, 10 June 2003, 3:30 PM EST

The government will ask IT professionals to join the police force as special constables to help police track down hackers and virus writers, if plans for a new national computer crime strategy being considered in Whitehall get the go-ahead.

The Home Office is leading the development of the strategy, which will look at ways businesses, government bodies and law enforcement agencies can pool resources to fight the rising tide of computer crime.

News of the plan comes amid renewed calls from police, industry and the Crown Prosecution Service to give police stronger powers to seize evidence from computer criminals, and to increase maximum sentences for basic hacking offences from six months to five years.

Officials believe that special constables - civilian computer experts trained in gathering evidence using the same forensic standards as the police - could be one answer to the problem of limited police resources. Prosecutions are often hindered by poor evidence of computer crime.

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