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January 26, 2020

Fraudsters in UK operate with impunity: report

World

P
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January 26, 2020

LONDON: Fraudsters in the UK “currently operate with impunity” and police have “not kept pace” with the sharp rise in cases, a report has found.

Fraud now accounts for one in three of all crimes committed in Britain and has cost millions of victims more than £130 billion to date, according to the review by ex-deputy Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey.

But fewer than 1 per cent of officers nationally investigate fraud directly and investigators feel “they can no longer work effectively to identify criminals and help bring them to justice”, it adds.

Despite nearly 2,000 fraud offences being committed daily, just one in fifty results in a prosecution. Illustrating the jump in cases, the report adds that while overall crime in England and Wales has remained “broadly static” over the past 12 months, reporting of fraud has jumped by 500,000 offences, a rise of 15 per cent.

It added a lack of capacity and proper investment and inadequate technology was hampering efforts to tackle the crime. It is estimated 86 per cent of fraud is committed online and in almost 80 per cent of cases involves offences where suspects and offenders do not live in the same area.

The review came about after a report in the Times found call handlers for the group Action Fraud, the national reporting service, openly mocked victims.

Four call centre staff were suspended after victims of fraud were apparently called “morons” and misled into thinking they were dealing with police.