Police admit they are powerless to protect people from online fraud

A senior police officer has warned that his force does not have the ‘capacity’ to protect people from online fraud amidst an ever escalating threat from cyber criminals and hackers.

Instead City of London police commissioner Adrian Leppard is urging individuals to take greater responsibility for their own online security after conceding that ‘clearly there isn’t a capacity to deal with all fraud’ and that current investigative resources were ‘a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of the problem we are facing.’

The admission came as Leppard called for a national advertising campaign to ram home the message that people need to protect themselves online, similar to 1980s campaigns against drink driving.

Leppard told The Times: “Economic crime is predominantly cyber-related. The reason we have problems in this area are two-fold: one, the scale of what is happening; it’s enormous. And secondly, the jurisdiction — the bulk of offending now is taking place overseas. Where you can reach the offenders in this nation and introduce legislation, you can have an impact. If the offending is overseas, where you don’t have legislation or powers to reach them, that becomes very difficult.

“The majority of the threat is coming in, on the internet, from countries all over the world, so it is going to be very hard. We can’t shut down that threat — no domestic country can.”

It is estimated that online crime including fraud and hacking cost the UK economy around £50bn a year.

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