The police don't put resources into fighting computer hacking and other cyber crime because other types of offences are easier to solve.
That's what Tim Buckingham, partner in the Financial Services Dispute Resolution team at Eversheds LLP, told the audience at Retail Conference 2014, an event that took place at the international law firm's UK headquarters in the City.
Speaking during a talk focused on "cyber-related fraud and contactless payment issues", Buckingham argued that the police would prefer to catch someone for speeding rather than fight cyber crime, as it's an easier way to make their crime statistics look good.
"It's an immense source of frustration for me that the police really don't seem to give a stuff about credit card fraud. They'd rather catch me speeding, doing 35 mph in a 30 zone – prosecuting me, that's an easy win," he said.
Catching cyber fraudsters is harder because often the criminals aren't based in the region that the crime is taking place, he said.
"Prosecuting somebody for internet-based credit card fraud is really, really complicated and It takes a lot of time and effort," he said.
"Skimming and all those things, they tend to capture the guy working in the shop who's skimming the cards, they don't catch the fraudsters because they're in a completely different jurisdiction."
Mark Surguy, Eversheds Partner specialising in fraud and financial crime, agreed, arguing that cyber crime almost isn't counted as a legal issue because of the difficulty of tracking down and convicting the sources of hacking and cyber fraud operations.
"I'm not sure there is a legal issue here; yes we're talking about crime but as Tim has pointed out, the police don't do anything and one of the reasons for that is we don't know who's committing it," he told the audience.
"Intelligence is being shared to try to identify the gangs, but if somebody from China, Indonesia or Nigeria - wherever it may be - hacked into your system, it's going to be pretty well impossible to prosecute the people concerned," he added.
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