IT specialists are being asked to volunteer with the new National Crime Agency

IT experts urged to help police

IT specialists should consider becoming police volunteers to help stop cyber criminals, the Security Minister is to suggest.

James Brokenshire will say the government wants experts with specialist skills not traditionally found in law enforcement to volunteer with the new National Crime Agency (NCA).

His speech comes after a police chief said forces should consider recruiting more unpaid special constables to help them cope with the government's budget cuts.

More than 46,000 reports of cyber crime were reported to the Action Fraud centre last year, amounting to attempts to defraud the public of £292 million, Mr Brokenshire is due to say.

"And we know that this is only a fraction of all crimes committed," he will say, adding that it was "very difficult to give an accurate figure to the cost of cyber crime to the UK economy".

Speaking to the Payments Council seminar on e-crime in central London, he will go on: "I would like to encourage you to think about secondment opportunities to the future National Crime Agency including in the National Cyber Crime Unit.

"The government is also drawing up plans for 'NCA Specials' - enabling people with specialist skills and expertise not traditionally found in law enforcement to contribute some of their time to help protect the public.

"That might include, for example, people with up-to-date IT skills to support the NCA's cyber crime capability.

"Through this means, we can share skills and knowledge on how we deal with cyber crime."

His speech comes after Thames Valley Police chief constable Sara Thornton said forces will have to rely more on special constables and volunteers in the wake of government budget cuts.

Forces will need to rethink the way they work with communities and whether community policing should be left solely to professional police officers and key staff, the vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) added.

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