Ex-SFO chief slates anti-fraud policies

George Staple, chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel called for urgent improvement to law, court procedure, police resources, training and business practice, claiming the ‘national response remains well below the level of events’.

Speaking to members of the Panel, Staple criticized government and business for believing fraud prevention can be kept ‘in the bottom of the in-tray’. Staple said: ‘The cumulative impact of such an approach is to lay out a red carpet for financial crime.’

Staple said Britian still considered fraud a victimless crime. Home secretary Jack Straw said the same thing when he announced an anti-fraud partnership between the Confederation of British Industry and the Metropolitan and City of London Police forces in March.

The scale of fraud and ingenuity of fraudsters grows each year, aided recently by the opportunities offered by e-commerce. Staple pointed out that just three fraud cases in 1994 involved sums in excess of that year’s total reported loss from burglary in England and Wales.

On the launch of the CBI/police pilot programme, CBI president Sir Clive Thompson said that 60% of UK firms suffered from fraud each year. According to the Panel’s research, annual losses to fraud exceed £5 billion.

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