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City of London police chief warns IT ‘fundamentally restructing’ law enforcement

‘Frankly, the scale of policing in the digital age is very poor at the moment.’

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The City of London police chief has warned that IT is "fundamentally restructuring" the police force, in a process likely to reach a watershed over the next two years.

Speaking to a briefing at the London First business group, commissioner Adrian Leppard bemoaned the current state of online policing, and said that much improvement had to take place to catch up with cybercrime.

"The issue of policing in the digital age will reach a watershed of fundamentally restructuring the service offering of policing to society," he said, according to Computer Weekly.

"Frankly, the scale of policing in the digital age is very poor at the moment – we do not have a good policing presence in cyber space, where so much crime is taking place."

British police must not only face rapid technological change over the coming years, but under the new Conservative government will also have to deal with budget cuts, and according to Leppard even planned funding injections to tackle cybercrime will not be adequate.

"That means looking differently at how we resource the police and provide services nationally, and it will be this area of digital challenge that will provoke that change," he said.

At the end of last year the coalition government pledged £860m to tackle cybercrime, and since the start of the year there has been a significant increase in the number of officers receiving cyber training, as recently reported by CBR.

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Regarding private sector involvement, Leppard said that it should work on new business models that are profitable but serve the needs of society.

He also remarked that encryption could continue to pose a problem for police, echoing similar comments by other police from the UK and the US.

"Our powers in digital communication in particular are vitally important to protect society, and we are on the verge of losing vital ground if the government does not take action," he said.

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