Recently, i came across the rather disappointing Minstry of Justice Criminal statistics for England and Wales covering 2008 (the latest year published) showing that the authorities have still got to get to grips with fraudsters in this country. The trouble is that whilst this crime is said to be soaring, and now costs the country an estimated 30 billion pounds a year, not enough people are being caught and dealt with in the courts.
Figures released by the government this year show that the number of defendants accused of fraud proceeded against in the magistrates courts actually dropped in 2008 to 13, 700. Comparative figures in 2005 and 2006 were 16, 300 and 15,400. Successful convictions in the magistrates courts have fallen too, from 14,300 in 2007 to 13, 200 in 2008.
When the Fraud Act 2006 was brought into effect in January 2007 to make it a lot easier to gain convictions against fraudsters in the future, I for one in the credit industry was looking forward to seeing a surge in the numbers of those taking the rap. Instead, we seem to be witnessing a reduction in convictions that is totally at odds with the growth rate of the crime itself.
Many cynics say that this kind of crime is of less interest to the authorities- the suspicion amongst many credit managers i speak to is that commercial fraud, for instance, is looked upon as another kind of bad debt that can be written off by commercial organisations. However, I believe the government and the police must do more to show the public they take this crime seriously. I don’t mean just starting initiatives like Action Fraud which the authorities should be applauded for by the way; their efforts must conclude with more success in bringing criminals to justice, otherwise, where is the deterrent?
I wonder whether anyone else has detected a lack of interest by the authorities in pursuing the perpetrators of this type of crime?
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