The House of Commons Justice Committee has announced the launch of a new inquiry to investigate the criminal justice system’s approach to combatting fraud and its ability to effectively prosecute fraud cases. The Committee is particularly interested in how the system is set up to tackle lower-level frauds, that are often not serious enough to be considered by the Serious Fraud Office but have a significant impact on the public.
The UK's criminal justice system is significantly underfunded. The government has acknowledged the historic lack of resources dedicated to tackling this form of crime. The Justice Committee has reported that less than 1% of police resources are dedicated to fighting fraud, which accounts for almost half of all crimes committed. The cost to the UK economy is over £137 billion a year.
As 2021 draws to a close, few of us anticipated that we would still be in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first half of 2021 saw a 285% rise in online fraud, such as advance -fee frauds, phishing and text scams, fuelled by the increased use of online platforms during the pandemic.
Fraud investigations can take can be complex, expensive and time-consuming and take years to come to court. If tackling fraud is a priority, then this means increased funding from government.