Trade association the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has underlined its support for the government's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which launched on Monday 3 October.

NCSC is set to be the public-facing part of Government Communications HQ, through which political leaders will deliver advice on tackling industry wide cybersecurity issues, and it comes after many years of campaigning by the BRC for a simpler structure to deal with the rising threat of cybercrime.

The aim of the new centre is to become a single point of contact for the private and public sectors, which the BRC has dubbed "ambitious" but "an extremely encouraging development".

Although positive about the NCSC's remit, the BRC wants the retail industry to be considered as a sector of strategic or significant economic importance. It is also calling for regular engagement with, and new levels of support for, the retail sector in the event of serious cybersecurity incidents.

Hugo Rosemont, crime & security policy adviser at the BRC, called the launch of the centre "a hugely positive development", adding: "The BRC's cybersecurity priorities are focused on helping to protect the retail industry and the customers it serves, and we believe that the new centre offers a massive opportunity to deliver the integrated approach that is needed to protect UK cyberspace.

"Our work is also driven by the belief that an effective approach to ensuring cybersecurity across society demands strong public-private partnership working. The retail industry should be seen as a core partner of the organisation and we stand ready to engage with the NCSC in a constructive manner."

The BRC's Retail Crime Survey 2015, which was published at the start of 2016, indicated the majority of retailers (94%) said the number of cyber attacks on their businesses had either increased or remained unchanged in 2014-15, compared to the previous year.

Respondents to the report suggested cyber attacks posed a critical to substantial threat to their business, and 100% of those answering the survey said they would report a cyber attack to the police. However, 89% of retailers reported no improvement in the service they received from the police once a fraud has been reported.

The retail industry will be looking towards the newly-formed NCSC to make a difference in this area.

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