Fraud panel slams lack of anti-fraud policy

Staple, chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel, has warned the government to start prioritising the fight against fraud,now costing the nation more than £11bn every year.

In its annual report, the Panel has suggested six actions the government should enforce in order to lower fraud levels.

The proposals range from the creation of a national anti-fraud commission and new Home Office guidance on the Data Protection Act ensuring legal protection for information exchange, to reforming procedures in serious fraud trials.

The Association of British Insurers has put the cost of fraud at over £11bn per year.

Staple said: ‘We urge that chief constables are given the resources to implement these changes.’

And he gave lukewarm praise to the joint anti-fraud initiative involving London police and the Confederation of British Industry launched earlier this year.

But, he said: ‘Too many people appear to believe that fraud can be kept at the bottom of the in-tray. The cumulative impact of such an approach is to lay out the red carpet for economic crime.’

The pilot programme endorsed by government permits the use of accredited private investigators and aims to ease the flow of confidential information between police and investigators.

But, business leaders remain doubtful as to its success claiming details as to the sharing of information are still vague.

Ian Trumper, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: ‘The two groups are not going for the same objectives. ‘Police want to secure criminal prosecutions and business want to recoup lost funds.

‘The law should support civil actions for the recovery of money,’ added Trumper.

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