Fraud continues to pose a major threat to the UK. As criminals become ever more sophisticated, tackling fraud will be a key theme in my work to address vulnerability and support businesses.
This week’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), A review of Fraud: Time to Choose, reminds us we still have a long way to go to give victims of fraud the justice and support they need. Too many individuals and businesses receive a poor service after suffering at the hands of fraudsters and the investigation and prevention of fraud offences remains an under-resourced area with too few offenders held to account.
There is very good reason to toughen up our approach to fraud. Not only does it have a devastating psychological impact on its victims, it also robs the UK economy of billions of pounds every year. Exactly how much we do not know because millions of incidents are never reported because victims feel embarrassed and ashamed of their experiences and suffer in silence.
I pledged in my manifesto to stop those who set out to harm others, especially offenders who prey on vulnerability as a means for gain. I also promised to offer greater protection and support to businesses and encourage stronger partnerships with the police so we can better tackle the type of online fraud and cybercrime that cripples earnings and can ruin enterprise.
While only marginal progress had been made since HMICFRS’s previous report in 2019, I am nevertheless grateful for the renewed focus on fraud and calls for it to be treated with higher priority. I also share the view more support and investment are needed to make the necessary improvements.
The public deserve better. Victims of fraud deserve better. Our businesses deserve better. The Police need to work more closely with other agencies, community leaders and the business sector to prevent fraud and protect livelihoods. The resources and technology we invest into fighting fraud must mirror the scale of the problem. Sadly, as this report shows, they do not and that has to change.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Tuesday 10th August 2021