A new report has found that when it comes to fraud, the police aren’t even putting their fists up to defend the public. Should it be a higher priority?
The police are fighting a losing battle against fraud.
The watchdog that oversees the performance of the police force, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, found that fraud is often deprioritised against other crimes.
Many forces don’t have enough resource to adequately investigate fraud and, in the instance of one police force, simply file away the overwhelming majority of cases without further investigation.
A fraud epidemic
We are in the midst of a fraud epidemic – around 3.3 million incidents were reported in the past year, and the estimated cost of fraud is in the billions – but it’s clear that the police are struggling to pull together the will and resource to tackle this emerging threat. And they claim there is no strategic leadership from government to help them in their fight against fraud.
In September last year, we found that just one in four cases that have been reported to Action Fraud in the past four years were forwarded onto local police forces, and we estimated that less than 1% of the those have been solved, and 3% were still being investigated.
Despite the fact that fraud and cyber-crime offences are now 10 times more common than burglary, it is clearly not getting the attention it desperately needs.
Just two weeks ago, the banking industry reported that criminals successfully stole £1.2bn through fraud and scams.
On the pages of Which? magazine and online, we repeatedly follow the stories of people who’ve lost life-changing sums of money to scams.
Victims left feeling abandoned
Too often, victims are left feeling abandoned and confused as investigations drag on with little sign of progress.
To show they are serious about winning the battle against increasingly sophisticated fraudsters, the government, police and banking industry must establish a more coordinated approach and make scams a top priority.
This is a threat to public safety – failing to stem tsunami of scams we face will make beating the fraudsters near-impossible in the future.
Do you think fraud should be a higher priority for the police?