Speaking at a presentation of the panel’s work in the City yesterday, FAP chairman George Staple told a gathering of UK business leaders, professionals and government officials that these two sectors were ‘very vulnerable’ to fraud and were ‘lacking in resources’ to fight it.
Staple said the FAP was preparing a handbook specifically targeted at educating these two sectors about the risks of fraud. He warned that the UK had ‘reached a point in the economic cycle’ where fraud would increase and called it ‘a hidden tax on everyone’ which cost the UK economy Pounds 30bn a year.
But he praised the government for ‘rising to the challenge’ and said the Proceeds of Crime Bill was a ‘major step forward’ in fraud prevention. He also commended the Home Office for setting up a hi-tech crime unit and said the Serious Fraud Office was achieving a higher conviction rate after it had been provided with greater resources.
Lord Sharman, chairman of the government’s Foresight Panel on crime prevention, commended the FAP on its work with SMEs and said he was ‘impressed by how much they had done on such a small budget’.
He said the role of the FAP remained to ‘educate and train business and professionals’.
‘But, getting people to care enough remains one of the biggest obstacles to crime prevention,’ the former KPMG international chairman told the audience. He added that there was a lack of practical advice available to business in this regard.
Also at the meeting, Perry Nove, commissioner of the City of London Police, said the police service stood behind the work of the panel. He said prevention was far more important than detection and called for a ‘holistic approach’ to fraud prevention, as demonstrated by the FAP.
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