Byline: John Revill Crime Reporter
Police forces are to recruit extra officers to help fight the cyberwar against Internet paedophiles, fraudsters and e-commerce racketeers.
The West Midlands, West Mercia, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire forces are all to recruit officers to combat hackers and computer viruses such as the 'I Love You' bug which wreaked havoc with systems last summer.
The specialists will be part of an 80-strong national squad announced by Home Secretary Jack Straw yesterday.
The pounds 25 million unit will be based at the multi-agency National High-Tech Crime Unit in London. It will consist of staff drawn from Customs, National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service.
Each regional force will also have at least one cybercop to tackle Internet crime in its area when the unit starts work in April next year.
Det Insp Dave Davis, head of the West Midlands Police computer evidence unit, said: 'This is very positive news. It will bring us from Third Division to the Premier League in dealing with computer-related crime.
'We will be able to increased the size of our unit significantly. Although it is only one extra person, that will make a massive difference to our work because they will have specialist knowledge.
'It will also help to link with a national unit. At the moment, there are isolated centres of excellence across the country and this will help coordinate and bring together where there has been good practice. …