Brian Sims

Cifas challenges Government to “do more” on fighting fraud

FRAUD PREVENTION service Cifas has launched ‘Fraud Pledges 2024’: a set of proposals requesting the Government to commit to reforms and prevention strategies that better protect communities and UK businesses from fraud.

Fraud accounts for approximately 38% of all crime in England and Wales and has more than doubled in Scotland over the past nine years. That’s according to statistics outlined by the Government’s ‘Stop! Think Fraud’ campaign.

However, only 1% of policing resources are allocated to combating this issue that not only severely harms victims personally and financially, but also negatively impacts the UK’s economy and funds serious organised crime.

Cifas CEO Mike Haley and Helena Wood (the organisation’s director of public policy) formally delivered the pledges document to 10 Downing Street on 15 May.

The proposed reforms challenge the Government to “do more” and provide greater counter-fraud assurances.

The Cifas ‘Fraud Pledges 2024’ are as follows:

*provide cross-Government leadership in the response to fraud

*improve the policing response to fraud

*eenhance support for the victims of fraud

*make the criminal justice response fit for tackling 21st Century fraud

*require social media and online platforms to join the multi-sector response to fraud

Following on from a Cifas-commissioned survey of 2,000 UK voters, over a quarter (27%, in fact) of respondents felt the proposal to modernise the criminal justice system (Pledge Number 4) was the ‘most important’ of all the five pledges listed.

Next generation

Mike Haley noted: “The Government’s 2023 Fraud Strategy was a good starting point, but more needs to be done to tackle the epidemic of fraud. Our pledges set out the next generation of fraud reforms for a future Government.”

Helena Wood added: “Fraud is the crime to which UK adults are most likely to fall victim. We must prioritise this by creating a specific Minister for Economic Crime, providing ring-fenced resources for policing and by ensuring social media and tech companies work closely with the counter-fraud community in order to fight fraud.”

Backing Cifas’ ‘Fraud Pledges 2024’ is Kathryn Westmore, senior research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, who added: “While the UK seems to have left the starting blocks, it will need to accelerate its efforts to keep up with the ever-changing threat posed by fraud. Cifas’ ‘Fraud Pledges 2024’ reforms demonstrate how the UK’s response to fraud could evolve to strengthen the nation’s defences and provide better outcomes for victims.”

In officially launching the ‘Fraud Pledges 2024’, Cifas invited Government officials and industry specialists to attend a VIP panel discussion at Portcullis House. Co-hosted with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax, the debate that ensued (under the heading ‘The UK Fraud Epidemic – Turning the Tide on Fraud and Scams’) included exclusive insight from Emily Thornberry MP and Simon Fell MP, the Prime Minister’s anti-fraud champion, with Dame Margaret Hodge MP serving as chair.

The group discussed practical and workable ways forward for better protecting the public and UK economy from what is a rising national security threat.

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