City Hall will be working closely with the City of London to monitor the reform of Action Fraud, the Mayor of London has confirmed.
This came after Labour’s London Assembly Policing and Crime Spokesperson, Unmesh Desai, raised the need for an overhaul of the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre at Mayor’s Question Time on Friday.
His intervention follows a review conducted by former Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, Sir Craig Mackey, which found that while fraud accounts for one-in-three crimes, only two per cent of cases end up being taken through the courts.
In the last 12 months, it is estimated by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau that the cost of fraud offences to Londoners was £349 million.
Sir Mackey’s review, published in January, warned that a lack of proper investment and inadequate technology was hampering efforts to tackle this complex and widespread form of crime.
The review recommended that Action Fraud should now be “re-defined and brought back into line with industry standards and public expectation”, concluding that “fraud investigation in the UK needs a ‘new future.”
In response to Mr Desai’s question on Action Fraud, the Mayor said that the City of London had an implementation plan in place that covered the recommendations in Sir Craig Mackey’s review.
He added that the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC) are engaging with City of London Police to monitor the progress of this work, alongside working with the National Business Crime Centre to improve communication between the police and businesses.
The Mayor also confirmed that the Met’s tactical response to fraud would be included in the next Mayoral Police and Crime Plan, advising Mr Desai that London’s Chief Digital Officer is working on a cyber security strategy to help Londoners and businesses protect themselves.
Mr Desai said: “Londoners are more likely to be affected by fraud than any other type of crime and it’s vitally important that there is a robust response from the police to this issue, for the sake of victims and for the purpose of deterring those committing these crimes.
“I’m glad the Mayor has said he will be monitoring the steps being taken to improve the City of London’s Action Fraud unit that is responsible for recording this very complex form of crime. But, as we have seen from Sir Craig Mackey’s very concerning review, a lack of investment and access to the right technology is preventing the majority of fraud cases from reaching the courts.
“During the pandemic, we have heard reports of the vulnerable and elderly being targeted, with heartless criminals seeking to exploit what has been an unsettling and hugely challenging year for us all.
“It’s important that that the Met delivers on the Mayor’s promises today and continues to carry out key preventative work, such as delivering leaflets with advice on fraud to those at risk of exploitation.”