Computer crime is a growing concern, Mr Maclean warned at a London conference organised to raise awareness about computer crime and look at strategies to prevent it.
Estimates show losses from computer theft running at about £200m, with knock-on effects from the loss of data and programmes to services and businesses amounting to £1bn a year.
Mr Maclean said:
'There are three key areas:
-- the role of the police
-- what computer owners and users should be doing
'The police have already made excellent progress enhancing their operations against computer crime. In May, the Home Office Police Research Group began a 12 month research project to provide even clearer data on the scale of computer crime.
'It will examine police procedures with a view to establishing best practice for investigating computer crime, and will assess security measures and devices for preventing such crimes from happening in the first place.
'The second key area of action - developing and promoting effective technological crime prevention solutions - is one where I feel there is a great deal of scope for progress. The use of sophisticated technology is crime prevention devices is growing more impressive all the time.
'We must keep one jump ahead of the criminal.
'The third key area for action is raising awareness about the risks of computer crime, and advising what can be done about it. Computer users and owners need access to detailed crime prevention information'.
Mr Maclean stressed the importance of property marking and the use of electronic tagging devices, both in helping police identify stolen property and as a deterrent to thieves.