Britain’s Cyber Police Force Calls For Recruits

NCCU wants cyber police to be the “career of choice” for those going into enforcement

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is recruiting up to 400 trainee cyber police officers who will work within the new National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU),

The multi-million pound recruitment drive is starting  two weeks after the launch of the NCA and the NCCU, which combined previous cyber policing bodies into one national entity, and is expected to go on for a year.  However, security industry commentators believe that 400 cyber cops may not be nearly enough.

Police Security LandscapeCyber cop school

“I want roles at the NCA to be the career of choice for people wanting a future in law enforcement,” said Phil Gormley, the NCA’s deputy director general. “The agency will be vastly different to those that came before it and we need to build our crime-fighting capacity and capability.

“This trainee programme shows that we are opening the NCA up to new people and new ideas, diversifying our workforce and modernising the workplace – while at the same time transferring expertise gained through years of experience.”

Applications open on 1 November at, where applicants will find a security questionnaire that pre-qualifies them. NCA is limiting applications to 8000, and then whittling that down to 1000 by online tests of verbal and digital reasoning.

In December, around 1,000 candidates will sit a test, and 400 of them will get a post in the NCA offices in Warrington and London, at a starting salary of £22,407, rising to £24,717 after the two year training period. They don’t need formal qualifications, and must be over 18.

“I thought joining this organisation would be a great way to pit my wits against the top criminals,” said Nick S , a 27-year-old technical officer within the NCA cyber unit, quoted in the announcement. “Since joining I have realised just how crucial our work is in protecting the UK. It’s an exciting time to be in the NCA and I look forward to playing my part in its future. After all we’re the internet generation and we have so much to offer in such a fast-moving world.”

Others have expressed doubts that 400 cyber cops can be enough – although some more extreme commentators seem to confuse the job of responding to cyber crime with the task of testing all the web sites in the world. This leads some to a rather bizarre plea to turn the whole world into security agents.

“The math is fairly simple,” said Robert Hansen – technical evangelist of WhiteHat Security – in a comment on the NCA announcement. Based on the assumption that these officers will be patrolling the Internet looking for bad sites, he reckons there are 672 million websites on the public Internet, and only 3000 people in the world capable of assessing them – a job which apparently takes 16 hours per site. Given that, he thinks the world needs another 21 million web application security testers.

Tech cops and robbers – Try our quiz!