FAP urges change of fraud strategy

The panel, an independent body set up by the ICAEW, puts its ideas on fraud to the government as part of its third annual report.

While praising the government’s serious response to economic crime, the FAP said a fragmentation of perspective, policy and institutions, combined with a rise in organised crime was allowing fraud to grow.

According to the Home Office, fraud costs the UK economy as much as £13.8bn a year.

Panel chairman George Staple QC, a former director of the Serious Fraud Office, said too little imagination had been shown in the past when tackling fraud and involved ‘too little multi-agency thinking’.

‘Our traditional system of checks and balances is failing to cope,’ he added.

He urged the government not to make the same mistake twice as, ‘organised crime, once established, is immensely difficult to eradicate’.

To combat this problem, the FAP said the establishment of a ‘dedicated lead body’ would be to drive a ‘multi-agency strategy’ and promote co-operation between the various law enforcement bodies and central government.

The FAP also highlighted a ‘crisis of resources in police fraud squads’, and called on the Home Office to undertake a review of whether additional resources should be directed to chief constables or other bodies, including a proposed National Fraud Squad.

Short-term solutions would be to increase manpower and skills by offering short-term contracts to recently retired fraud squad officers and introducing a more flexible approach to the rotation of senior investigators.

Additionally, the FAP proposed the formation of a National Economic Crime Commission tasked with looking at the ‘holistic, long-term view of the problem’.


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