Police fraud investigation 'inconsistent'

Report: Police fraud investigation 'inconsistent'

A new report has criticised police forces in England and Wales for an 'inconsistent' approach to investigating fraud.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services says the public has been left at a high risk of being scammed because some forces are actively seeking reasons to drop investigations, with one officer complaining to inspectors that fraud is not a priority because it does not "bang, bleed or shout".

Inspectorate investigators visited a total of 11 forces as well as other agencies that help tackle fraud. Their report contains examples which they say make "sorry reading". One force filed 96% of all cases sent from the National Fraud Intelligence Agency with no further action, despite some of them having a good degree of evidence and even identified suspects.

Seven of the forces were not even able to tell inspectors how many of the reports they received had been responded to.

One analyst told the report: "Everything is against fraud. It is not a priority, not sexy, people don't report it and it is difficult to prove, which takes time, resources and money.”

The report estimates the total cost of fraud to the UK economy to be £190 billion per year, almost 10% of the country's gross domestic product, and "there should be no doubt that combating fraud, and those who commit it, is important."

In response, Commander Karen Baxter, national police co-ordinator for economic crime, admitted the need for improvement, saying a significant amount of work has already started to address some of the issues raised in the report.

The full report, called 'Fraud: Time to Choose', can be downloaded here.

Conflict's Director of Compliance and Development, Roger Bescoby, is hosting a presentation today at the Fraud and Financial Crime Europe Summit in London. He is presenting 'Taking It to the Streets', giving an overview of proactive street level investigations and surveillance, as well as how fraud and asset locations are uncovered by professionals.

Conflict International has decades of experience in surveillance as a means of gathering intelligence on someone who might be scamming you. We can deploy professional investigators to uncover their digital and physical movements as part of an investigation.

To discuss a particular case or our services in more detail, please contact us in confidence on +44 (0)20 7917 2939 or email info@conflictinternational.com