High-tech crime centre to open in July

Australia’s high-tech crime centre is set to open officially in July following a meeting of police commissioners in Melbourne last week.

The Canberra-based centre is modelled on the U.K.’s high-tech crime centre and provides a central base for federal and state agencies to co-ordinate operations and investigate computer crime.

In recognition of the priority given to computer crime by the federal government, it is one of the few areas of policing that has a board of management made up of police commissioners.

This is because cyber crime requires a global and national view, according to the centre’s director, Alistair MacGibbon, of the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

He said all law enforcement agencies are represented at the centre with state officers in the process of relocating now in preparation for its mid-year opening.

“However, the centre will not replace what state enforcement agencies are doing, we simply provide high-end advice,” he said.

In the last year, MacGibbon said, there has been an ongoing exchange with U.K. counterparts to ensure Australia doesn’t make the same mistakes when identifying priorities and determining structure and operating procedures.

MacGibbon said steps are already under way to involve industry so “business are more confident of our computer crime capability” to address the critical issue of non-reporting of breaches by the private sector.

“The centre is not a magic bullet, but it will reduce the impact of computer crime and allow us to be more responsive; the centre is only one aspect of the beast. We will be working actively with other agencies,” he said.