'Finite resources' limit SFO
The director of the Serious Fraud Office has welcomed extra money and police resources handed over to help with investigations, but says there is only so much that can be done with 'finite resources'.
Robert Wardle’s comments come as the government’s lead anti-fraud agency considered whether or not to launch an investigation into Equitable Life, following the release of the Penrose report this week.
His concerns also followed a National Audit Office report released in December 2003, which said the SFO would not meet its targets set for 2003/04 for number of active cases, the time taken to investigate cases and the time taken for prosecution.
Wardle said ‘declining numbers of police officers’ working on SFO cases had had a ‘significant effect’ on all three of these targets.
In recognition of this shortfall, the SFO will receive an extra £7m next year and another £5m the year after, boosting its budget which currently stands at £33.3m for 2003/04.