/ 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?

Robert says:
3 April 2019

Absolutely 100% the Police should have more funding and training combating all types of fraud including Cyber crime and others referred to as 419’s
We are in the midst of sofistacated and high Tech
Internet scams.
It’s about time the Fraud Police be given the right tools to catch these criminals.
The innocent Public deserve these important changes.

The Police are undermanned, underfunded, don’t have the skills needed to investigate deep enough, worse still, they are not supported by our Criminal Justice System, which is WEAK–the country’s in a mess, it needs STRONG leadership who will stand up to the mamby pandy do gooders, put money in THIS COUNTRY where it’s needed, that will get the public support.Put our own house in order first, then help others.

Peter says:
3 April 2019

I agree that more should be done to support people who are victims of fraud and this should primarily be a government and banks issue as clearly the police do not have the resources as a result of the cuts in funding and police numbers they have had to cope with.

I coukld not answer the question about making computer fraud a higher priority. I dont know. Noi point of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. The police require more resources. Organising so-called austerity such that the already poorer become poorer still is not a wise approach.

I am sure there are a lot of competent people out there that take on the job?
A lot of people would if only affiliated to the Police, this would surely release the force to get on with other Police work.

Joan Damerell says:
3 April 2019

I think the banks should be dealing with Fraud.

Many Banks invariably believe the customer has either carried out the fraud themselves or contributed toward it. The rule of innocent until proved guilty is the reverse of their thinking.

This is the essence of the problem, banks not doing enough. They are closing most high street branches and encourage/force us all to do on line banking. But, refuse to take responsibility to deal with the problem of fraud head on. They suggest but do nowt.

Roy Rogers says:
3 April 2019

If they prioritise fraud what should they deprioritise, murder, or child abuse, or domestic violence, or rape, or human, or drug smuggling?
All these have victims who have been physically as well as emotionally harmed.
We the general British public expect the police to come running the instant we realise we are victims of crimes, unfortunately there are not enough to go around. And those who believe they should be taken from “harassing motorists”, they are needed there as well.

I lost £2000 to an online scam. I became suspicious, made an excuse of going to the loo and checked my bank account but the money had already gone. I rang the police but they said that the arrangement was that they transfer me to the banks security department. When I got back to the computer I found that the fraudster was still on the line talking to a woman and obviously repeating the scam with her. I rang the police again but could get no immediate response. When a constable did come round he told me that the crooks were well ahead of them when it came to computer fraud and the police were trying to play catch up. The bank made no great effort either. They didn’t contact the bank that the money was paid to until the next day.

Ian says:
3 April 2019

Since banks should know their customers they need to be liable to some extent to recover money. As customers we need to accept some delay in clearing to help recapture funds. Since customers should be known then it should be easy to for police to follow up and if accounts are fraudulently opened then banks must be on the hook. PCCs have the ability to set police priorities so make views known to them.

I think that fraud should be a HIGHER priority but it can’t come before knife crime, etc. surely? As usual the problem is one of funding.

When the Police catch and convict fraudsters, they should take ALL their possessions, including their cars, unless the fraudsters can prove they earned the money legally to buy them. The proceeds should be divided between the Police to help provide essential equipment, and the uninsured victims. This is the only way to make them think twice.

Rewerb says:
3 April 2019

Clearly this it is a very important matter to attend to but how to prioritise the crowd of issues that need urgent attention is so difficult in the present climate. But it must be done.

Jus an idea….Stop any direct transaction unless done through the back. Delay every transaction for up to 48 hours – the bank could hold the transaction in a holding account- that way it gives time to stop any money being transferred onto criminals – it can be stopped and returned. I would like to know how soon victims discover they have been had?

Tahng Ork says:
4 April 2019

This is a good idea but the banks wont do it because in passing on a payment to someone who later turns out to be a fraudster they would be directly accountable.. and would have to dip their hands into the very big pockets and compensate the victim..
IF it was implemented I would suggest the money be held until the goods were received.

What I was trying to say is..Most victims realise they have been defrauded very soon after the transaction. Giving bank details, passing money over and so on. If there was a delay, in any in the transfer of money, there would be time for the banks to reverse the transaction.

Andrew Davidson says:
3 April 2019

Police have to spend a disproportionate amount of time investigating historical offences. They need more resources so that they can also protect the public from a growing bunch of fraudsters who know that they can get away with it. The victims are often older people being robbed of their savings.

Clearly, the resources that go to the police are insufficient. Not only is this to do with fraud but also knife crime and the problems with traffic offences. These are the ones that have just popped into my head now so I am sure that there must be others as well. I also wonder just how efficient our police system is managed? Could changes to this make a difference?

Gurmail singh says:
3 April 2019

Police dont want to know dont care and wont do anything
There is no law governing uk people need to do their own investigation why are we paying for policing?

3 April 2019

I have been contacted by scammers trying to pass themselves off as Microsoft Engineers, BT Engineers, Microsoft sales, BT Sales and many other scenarios. Frequently a phone number is displayed on the caller display. Although this is the result of passing the call through various exchanges etc. there must be a technological method of chasing back to the origin of the calls. This should be a priority in the war against these scum.

Fred says:
3 April 2019

As a victim of fraud losing our house and everything and wife had strokes due to the stress I feel as there is no real police force as such we need to take the law into our own hands .
For far too long the public have been mugged off by the police and the politicians

Terence Donnelly says:
4 April 2019

Certainly they should.

It would be better to do something far more stringent to the companies which use the phone to rob people with various scams. No-one should be receiving unsolicited phone calls.

Older people especially cannot be told enough NEVER EVER to carry on the conversation with anyone who rings whom they do not know. My stock reply to anyone is that I never buy anything on the phone or at the door. Plonk.

I am, incidentally, telling the truth. I make the first moves and no-one else if I want to buy something.

Will Petrie says:
4 April 2019

The police are to intent chasing the wrong things , excuse me sir I believe you’ve had to much to think ..utter useless in priorities , they’re taking the peace