/ Money

Should fraud be a police priority?

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.

Our own research has found that 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved.

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?


Much of the fraud these days is committed from around the world. I only see the police as getting involved in knocking on a door and taking the suspected guilty parties to jail.

There are several things that could be done before the police even need to get involved.

Add scam story lines to soap operas etc to help raise awareness.

Make phone and social media companies jointly and severally liable for any monies lost via phone , online ad scams. ( I’m pretty sure you’ll see a flurry of activity to reduce scams, unlike now where there’s virtually no activity. )

I should also point out that since 11am today, my phone has blocked 7 nuisance calls 6 from supposedly overseas numbers. if technology exists to have a phone do that. Then why can’t an exchange?

Just thought of another one, bring back police 5, ensure it’s aired on all channels at different times/days. Once every week. fortnight/month depending on need. Covering all current scams.

If most of our fraud has been outsourced to Indian call centres, just how is Dixon of Dock Green supposed to deal with it?

He probably has the long arm of the law.

The one thing they cannot mimic over there is the diction of Dock Green so you can tell it’s a scam in the first few seconds.

Ruth Kosminsky says:
2 April 2019

Fraud is, without doubt, a really nasty crime. The victims are deliberately put through a living hell. And the culprits just don’t care. The victims are chosen carefully, as they are very vulnerable; some are emotional; as they are going through a personal living hell. That is when they are manipulated. There is nothing glamorous regarding Fraud, it is a question of control. Fraud doesn’t make the headlines; because it is not full of blood and guts as murder is. {Unless there is a $billion scam from a rogue trader.} The average Mr and Mrs Smith who is the real victims, who don’t live in a glamour address, don’t lose £m’s, except their life savings -they don’t count.- Most victims are too ashamed to report it, that is why the crime statistics; don’t reflect the true gravity of such a devastating crime. With Major Police Cuts; the Police have to choose, what must take priority. The taken of life in a violent situation or the loss of somebody’s life savings. Sadly, there is no contest.

Epatchett says:
2 April 2019

I think it’s unfair that police have lost the ” will ” when it comes down to funding resources . Also , the fraud dept were incorporated with organised crime dept. directly after a successful prosecution involving one of the biggest fraud cases . Unbelievable . I am a victim of fraud which is currently under investigation . The main obstructions to a conclusion have been the banks lack of cooperation . Also , the banks lack of a robust procedure to check and verify new account applications identification , mainly addresses . In my case many addresses do not exist! How can this happen ? Until one needs and receives the assistance of the police force the public have little or no idea how they are stretched. Knife crime , radicalisation , illegal immigrants , organised crime . I ask how would you prioritiorise crime ?

Tiiu-Imbi Miller says:
3 April 2019

If we gave the police enough resources they wouldn’t have to choose which crimes to investigate. To do that we must vote for politicians who put up taxes, not who put them down, but demand lots of info as to how our money is spent, and hold those who give shipping contracts, as an example, to a firm that has no ships, personally responsible.

We were the victim of fraud. Unknown fraudster opened a store card and maxed it out the same day. The first we heard was when a demand for £1200 arrived. went to police station to get a crime number and that was about it. didn’t seem bothered. Spent months with Paranoia watching every letter that arrived. Had to change all passwords and check all details with equifax to try and spot activity. Not a nice feeling.

I would like to know what percentage of the police force actually work on solving crimes.

Excellent question. The only thing I could find quickly was this: ” In 2014 there was one police officer for every 445 members of public, an increase of over 50 people per officer since 2010.”

Fraud is now dealt with by an organisation called ‘Action Fraud.’ The joke is the ‘Action’ bit because they never take any unless you are wealthy! When I reported fraud to ‘Action Fraud’ they admitted it was fraud and handed it back to Suffolk Police to ‘Action’ and of course they did nothing. If you experience fraud, live with it, don’t allow yourself to be even more stressed by reporting it to the Police. They don’t care! They haven’t got time to care!

Fewer than one in 100 thefts in some police force areas are being solved, an analysis shows, prompting criticism of police priorities……..

While the number of thefts from people have doubled to 100,000 fuelled by the boom in mobile phones, the proportion where the offender was caught and charged have halved since 2014/15.

In Greater Manchester, City of London, Avon and Somerset and North Yorkshire, the proportion where anyone was charged dropped to 0.6 per cent or under, according to the analysis by The Daily Telegraph of home office data.

It isn’t just fraud that is suffering.

The police are under resourced so something has to give. Perhaps under the circumstances concentrating on serious crimes, personal injury, knife crime currently, should have a higher priority? I wonder just how difficult it is to solve fraud and theft and how time consuming it might be. Should more of our taxes be diverted to the police from elsewhere? Where should the money come from? When the banks have to address compensation for online fraud more actively they might find it worthwhile investing in fraud investigation to recover their losses.

A case on the radio this morning involved someone who claimed their credit card and PIN had been stolen from their post box for their flat. £600 spent. The police were not interested; the bank suggested he’d spent the money, He followed this up by contacting the shops where the card had been used and found they all had cctv covering the times and locations where the perpetrator had used the card, with good images but that could only be released to the police. The point made was that the perpetrator was not likely to be committing a one off. but had probably defrauded many people, so putting in the effort to apprehend them would be very worthwhile.

David Overton says:
3 April 2019

It is difficult for the government to join the action against fraud. It has spent the last 33 months legitimising it’s use in attaining the result of the 2016 referendum.

It’s a waste of manpower and funding to allow police to retire so early. Once they’re too old to be wrestling drunks on a Friday night then use their years of experience to fight non physical crime. They would need some training and help from experts but they’re crime fighters already.

Sheila says:
3 April 2019

All fraud has its victims and should have consequences for the perpetrators. This should start from those MPs that have made fraudulent comments for their own gain(& that of their party) , to money mis spent by academy schools or in the NHS.Then, those targeting elderly or vulnerable people. If no one is prosecuted it is a poor example for all of society, literally “ crime does pay” in many cases.

MGB says:
4 April 2019

Grayling is a perfect example!

I had to play detective and handed a lot of info to the police and only then they started to investigate my case. Banks are off the hooks and don’t freely cooperate with each other and with the police. Each time the police asked for documents from the bank, they had to come back with production orders. In my particular case there is clear evidence the bank in question breached money laundering regs and yet FCA is reluctant to impose fine. It’s a very sad affair that victims of fraud a left to fight for justice themselves, banks are left unpunished and police is overwhelmed with the amount of cases and lack of resources. Fraudsters simply get away with their crimes leaving devastation behind. Horrendous.

Neo says:
3 April 2019

I am victim of clear fraud by parties that can be traced , yet after reports to the banks and police , they aren’t doing anything concrete to assist . They are shirking their responsibility; which in turn embolden the fraudsters who hide under GDPA provisions —- compliments of the police and banks —- as if they are being abetted or assisted

Jay says:
3 April 2019

Do not send money by bank transfer without verbally checking the account and sort code of the recipient. I have just prevented a large sum from going to a financial company in London known as APS Financial who have a track record of this. Scammers hack into business e-mails and then when money is sent, they send their own e-mail with their own bank acc out number and sort code, but omit the name of the bank. they will have already set up a business account in the same name as your supplier. My bank wan rend me of this before sending money electronically. good job i checked. Gaol is too good for these scammers. they need to be hunted down and stopped.

Dennis Keeling says:
3 April 2019

Cyber fraud is outside the knowledge of most police persons – they have a few experts but it is now so prevalent it should be part of the basic training – they need to adapt to the changing times.

Ernie says:
3 April 2019

There must be technology to deal with this and I do believe the regulator,banks, media companies and any other company that this could happen with.They must take much more serious responsebility of dealing with this widening problem on their technology and if they don’t then it should be made much more tougher with heavy penalties to make them stick to responsibility of the fraud and scans on their technology.Government shouldn’t be going on what they are spending on law enforcement now,but the cuts that they made that has undermined the police and still is,so as the police can do their jobs properly when circumstances permit.Its time for change and stop sticking their heads in the sand

Graham says:
3 April 2019

Until the Police are properly resourced and allowed to recover from successive government cutbacks their real priority should be in tackling violent and street crime with a visible presence and adequate powers to succeed. Fraud is an industry-wide problem which the wealthy banks should be taking more responsibility to tackle systemically. The Police are expected to deal with whatever social problems that happen to be current – but with less and less resources. Is it any wonder they cannot keep pace with core policing issues?

Gail Harri9 says:
3 April 2019

The police don’t seem to be interested in investigating most crimes nowadays let alone stopping them. They make a report and that’s it. Should never have opened the UK border to the dregs of other countries societies, we have enough of our own.

Just as important as police action on fraud, in my opinion, is educating the general public in how to avoid it. There will of course always be vulnerable people, but the vast majority should be able to grasp the concept of how to spot and avoid a scam – particularly a financial one.

Steve White says:
3 April 2019

I am not sure the police are the right people to be dealing with this. Certainly bring them in to make the arrests etc, but the Home Office and it’s satellite agencies are doing the real work. Things like this make the police the scapegoats and I am not sure that is fair. Cyber crime is a deeply specialist subject and without the right investment at government and ministerial levels, nothing will be done to improve things. I am receiving scam/phishing/threat emails (the type that threaten to encrypt your hard drive unless you make a payment to a bitcoin account) almost daily.

The trouble is that everything is a priority. Are you suggesting that this is as important as the epidemic of knifings we are seeing daily? Glad to note that they are being more forceful about searching generally. About time.