A new taskforce, consisting of police, banks and government officials, is being set up by Home Secretary Theresa May to combat fraud across the UK.Part of its work will be to publish a list of the 10 most-wanted fraudsters and improve intelligence sharing between banks and police.
Alison Levitt QC, Head of the Business Crime group at Mishcon de Reya, commented:
"It is good news that the Government is finally giving fraud the attention that it warrants. Fraud can be life-changing for many victims. In the year ending March 2014, the estimated annual loss to the UK economy through fraud was £52 billion. Dealing with that would eliminate the deficit many times over - no more austerity measures would be required.
"However, setting up a taskforce and making a list of who to catch is not enough. The resources need to exist to allow for investigations and prosecutions that are conducted properly. We also need greater joined-up working between the various investigative and prosecutorial bodies and clearer lines of responsibility, including the identification of who will be ultimately responsible.
"Thought also should be given to victims of fraud having a right to require the police to investigate.
"Last year the Ministry of Justice said that there was no evidence which would justify the government enacting a new offence of failure by companies to prevent fraud and other economic crime. The Government should look at the wider picture and revisit this important issue."