injection and the announcement by Home Office minister Caroline Flint
that the City of London Police will take the lead in investigating
fraudsters and complex fraud cases.
The additional investment of £2m per year - provided by the
Home Office and the Corporation of London - will support the
expansion of the City of London Police fraud squad. This will be
backed by a further £1m from the Home Office to fund the
capital costs of the expansion.
City of London Police operate within London's 'square mile' and have
built up a wealth of expertise in investigating complex fraud cases.
Their expertise and experience will now be used to uncover and
prosecute serious fraud wherever it occurs in the south east - not
just the City.
Speaking at the British Bankers' Association annual financial
crime conference, Ms Flint said: 'We are determined to clamp
down on fraud and at the same time take the profit out of crime.
Fraud costs Britain billions of pounds every year, affecting us all ???
not only financially but by damaging our reputation for good business.
'This announcement means that the specialist expertise of City of
London Police in tackling fraud will help cut crime right across the
country, supported and expanded by a £3m cash boost
this year. This is a significant increase in the resources and
expertise dedicated to fighting fraud, allowing the police to step up
and speed up investigations.
'I am delighted to be working in partnership with the Corporation of
London, the City of London Police and the Serious Fraud Office on
this important development, which represents a significant increase
in the resources dedicated to fighting fraud as well as bringing
together such expertise.'
The City of London Police will be the first force to be recognised as
a 'lead force', as outlined in the recent Green Paper on Polic ing:
Building Safer Communities Together, and will take the lead on all
fraud investigations across the south east.
The Attorney General said: 'The cost of fraud to the UK economy
has been put as high as £14bn a year - the equivalent of £230 for
every member of the population. It is not victimless, but it is indiscriminate,
hitting both rich and poor. It is often found at the heart of criminal
enterprises that can also involve drug dealing, money laundering and
people trafficking. There is also a social dimension. Between 1997 and 2002,
the number of prosecutions for benefit fraud rose from under 12,000 to nearly
27,000. Social equality demands that we now bear down on white-collar crime
'This extra cash is a big step forward in our fight against fraud.
The Serious Fraud Office, responsible for the investigation of
serious and complex fraud, has already received an extra £13m
to tackle the cheats, fraudsters and money launderers who rip off the
public and divert cash from our public services. But the SFO has
never had the resources to investigate and prosecute smaller scale
fraud - meaning some criminals have been able to slip through the
net. I have said many times before that we need to raise our game in
tackling fraud. I am delighted that now, with Home Office and
Corporation of London support, the SFO and City of London police will
be able to make a real impact on the evil of fraud, which damages the
economy, corrodes business confidence and injures the public.'
1. The Home Office minister, Caroline Flint gave the keynote address
at the British Bankers' Association annual financial crime conference
2. The Home Office and the Corporation of London have agreed to
provide £1m in revenue funding each in the first year, index linked
(to the annual increase in the Home Office provision for aggregate
police funding) for future years. The Home Offi ce will additionally
contribute up to £1m towards the initial capital costs of the
expanded fraud squad.
3. The City of London Police and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have
been working closely to increase the resources available for fraud
investigations. There are already planned increases in SFO resources
- £7m in 2004-5 and a further £5m in 2005-6.
4. The Consultation Paper of 4 November ( Policing: Building Safer Communities Together) indicates that the government is keen to
explore the possibility of developing 'lead forces' as a way of
maximising the operational effectiveness of policing in England and
Wales. City of London Police will now provide police resources for
the majority of SFO cases in the south east region. City Police will
also assist other forces by investigating complex fraud cases that
fall outside SFO criteria.