Attracting cyber security talent a 'challenge' for police - Cyber Crime Unit's Andy Archibald

By Danny Palmer
11 Mar 2014 View Comments
New Scotland Yard building

The public sector - and the police force in particular - is struggling to attract top cyber security talent to help protect the public from hackers and cyber criminals because security professionals can often get far better salaries in the private sector.

That's according Andy Archibald, deputy director of the National Crime Agency (NCA) National Cyber Crime Unit, who was addressing an audience at e-Crime Congress 2014.

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"The skills required to investigate crime when I joined the constabulary are not the same skills we need now," said Archibald.

"We still need to maintain the ability, experience and knowledge on how to investigate within the criminal justice system, but actually the skills we need to recover evidence and intelligence from the internet are highly technical."

Archibald argued that it's vital for law enforcement to employ individuals with the skills required to decipher evidence relating to cyber crime and take the fight to cyber criminals.

However, Archibald admitted that attracting the best is a challenge for the police and the wider public sector, when private sector organisations can offer cyber security experts greater salaries and benefits.

"That's a challenge in law enforcement, to attract, retain and reward these individuals. Because it's a tough marketplace, but not only does the public sector and law enforcement need the skills, but so does the private sector. And of course within the private sector the salary packages are more attractive," he said.

"I think that's a challenge for law enforcement because how do we begin to address that particular issue as we move forward so we can attract the best, retain the best and ensure we continue to develop within our environment."

Archibald said some cyber security experts in the private sector help the police to fight digital crime through the National Crime Agency Specialist programme.  "A number of individuals with those skills work with us on a part-time basis for no reward, to assist us in the fight against cyber crime," he said, adding that he would like to see police forces across the country establish similar schemes.

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