Lack of resources hinders UK fraud battle

Link: ICAEW steps up fight against fraud

Ken Farrow, head of the City of London Police Fraud Squad, will speak at the institute’s conference: ‘Fraud and how to stop it’ and paint a bleak future for fraud policing in the UK.

With the Serious Fraud Office handling only 80 to 100 of fraud cases, and the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad dealing with cases exceeding £750,000 in value, the remainder of the cases are dealt with by ‘under-resourced local police forces’, Farrow claims.

He will say: ‘Fraud doesn’t feature on the list of government priorities. Consequently there is little or no incentive for local police chiefs to commit already stretched personnel to combating economic crime. The situation is compounded by dwindling numbers of qualified fraud investigators, as experienced officers retire and are not replaced.’

Farrow is in favour of setting up a National Fraud Squad of around 1,200 officers at an estimated cost of £85m, but the idea appears to have been vetoed by a multi-agency working group, led by the SFO, in a report to the government.

‘[The NFS] would be money well spent when contrasted with the cost of inaction to the economy in the longer term,’ Farrow will say.

Fraud is estimated to cost the UK economy between £13bn and £16bn annually.

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