A £30 million research centre, dedicated to the technological fight against cybercrime, opened in Belfast yesterday.

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University is set to become one of the UK’s main locations for developing technology to combat e-crime. Around 80 people will be employed at the centre.

Key areas of focus include screening internet traffic for illegal content in real time, including picking out online grooming. The centre also plans to develop software and hardware to analyse images from closed circuit television cameras in real time.

CSIT will also develop technology to tackle cybercrime issues deemed as being of strategic national security importance. It is also hoped it will develop technology to help co-ordinate international work on fighting e-crime.

Professor Peter Gregson, vice chancellor at the university, called the opening a "bold and exciting development", adding that CSIT “will become a vital reference point for all businesses working in this field and beyond”.

"Cyber-security is a global issue that affects us all,” he said.

The government has said it will publish a national e-crime strategy by the end of December, to look at how the government works with the private sector and foreign governments. It also admitted it needed much tighter coordination between its own departments in Whitehall, in order to keep a grip on the issue.