The City of London Corporation’s Police Authority Board has called on local UK police forces to step up their efforts in tackling fraud.
In its response to the Home Office’s Strategic Policing Requirement Review consultation, the City of London Police Authority Board says that around 4.5% of cases reported through Action Fraud reach a judicial outcome.
It calls for a new drive to boost local policing capacity and ensure consistency of approach to combatting fraud across the country to improve outcomes.
It told the review that fraud is rarely mentioned in local Police and Crime Commissioners Police and Crime Plans, and there is no existing mechanism for local forces to appropriately consider fraud in line with the concern from the public and business in their constituencies.
The City of London Corporation’s Police Authority Board is responsible for making sure that the City of London Police runs an effective service by holding the Commissioner to account and setting policing priorities for its role in protecting the Square Mile and as National Policing Lead for Fraud.
City of London Police is the national leading police force for tackling fraud, which it does in collaboration with the Home Office, law enforcement agencies, the private sector and the other 43 Home Office forces.
It oversees Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, which records fraud reports, before sending them to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
The Bureau then collates and analyses these cases and decides which ones are referred to local police forces and other law enforcement agencies for investigation.
James Thomson, Chairman of the Corporation’s Police Authority Board, said: “Fraud is the single biggest crime type in the UK. It affects millions of citizens, weakens our economy and seriously jeopardises our reputation internationally as a safe place to do business.
“While there is more that can and is being done centrally, tackling the volume of fraud currently perpetrated in the UK will need local forces to step up their efforts.
“While fraud is a national threat to our economy this can sometimes be interpreted as meaning that it has to be tackled nationally.
“But while there will always be a need for a central and regional capability to record, and address and co-ordinate complex cases, further investment is required, including at local force level, to investigate fraud.
“Currently the local resource commitment to tackling fraud is woefully short of what is required.
“We are calling on the Government to give fraud the greater prominence and representation it deserves in its plans, and to reflect the scale of the threat to victims, businesses and the UK economy.
“The Home Office should use this opportunity to signal its support of the role local forces have in playing their part in the wider efforts focused on this crime.”
The Government’s Strategic Policing Requirement Review examines how crime, fear of crime and other threats to public safety are changing and will assess the ability of UK police forces to respond.
It aims to set a long-term strategic direction for the UK police services so that they are better able to tackle crime in an age where it is being transformed by new technology and wider social change.
The review will set out substantial recommendations for a modern police service capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
Fraud is the fastest growing area of crime in the UK and the City of London Police receives 800,000 reports of fraud a year. Fraud accounts for one third of all crime, but only receives a fraction – just under 2% – of police resources to tackling it.
Fraud is an under-reported crime, and reported fraud losses were at approximately £2.3bn in the last financial year, affecting around a million people.