In 2012 an estimated £73 billion was lost to fraud in the UK. Despite the scale of fraudulent activity it appears to be a postcode lottery when it comes to arresting fraudsters.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions to the Home Office asking for an explanation why massive variations in detection rates exist between police forces.
The Fraud Act 2006 simplified the law of fraud into a single act that made it easier to prosecute fraudulent activity because it was a huge and growing area of criminal activity.
Today victims of fraud report their case to the National Fraud Action Line. This information is passed to a specialist unit at the City of London Police. It is their role to identify patterns of fraud and potential fraudsters. Once they have the evidence to prosecute the case is passed to the local police force.
It is at this point where performance varies greatly. At the top is Dyfed Powys securing 151% detection from the cases sent by the City of London Police. These figures demonstrate how the Welsh force are able to secure more arrests.
At the bottom of the league table are London’s Metropolitan Police with 0.45% detection of cases received and Greater Manchester with 0.11% or 1 case detected out of 945 they received.
MP Rosie Cooper said:
“In just 3 months over 13,000 fraud cases were passed to local police forces to secure arrests. Yet just 9% of cases resulted in arrests.
“Fraud is a massive industry worth £73 billion. This is not a victimless crime. People are losing their life savings, hard-earned money and small businesses are being forced to the wall.
“Through the work done by the City of London Police many of these fraudsters can be stopped in their tracks. We can stop them swindling more people out of their hard-earned money, the Home Office has to ensure that Police Forces are properly resourced to put these criminals behind bars where they belong, not free to fleece more unsuspecting people of their hard-earned money.
“I’ve asked questions of Home Office ministers because clearly fraud isn’t being given a high enough priority.”