CPS launches first ever economic crime plan
The Crown Prosecution is to introduce a cadre of specialist prosecutors as part of its first ever plan to improve its response to the growing scourge of economic crime.
Another key part of its new strategy is to focus on how prosecutors can better help and support victims, including those who are most vulnerable. It will also support plans for launching the first ever economic crime court and Nightingale courts for fraud cases.
The new plan was launched at a recent round table meeting with Government departments, police and criminal justice partners. The meeting heard that the scale of the problem is growing. Some £479 million was lost in 2020 to scams where people were tricked into making bank transfers to fraudsters.
The CPS has prosecuted over 10,000 economic crime cases over the past year and estimates that 800,000 people a year are falling victim to economic crime.
The roundtable discussed the fact that economic crime is also evolving and that 86 per cent of reported fraud is now estimated to be cyber enabled, fuelled by advances in technology.
In the last year we have seen cyber criminals look to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic. Huge increases in the number of people working remotely mean that significantly more people will be vulnerable to computer service fraud.
Opportunistic fraudsters have also tried to exploit the government’s bounce back loan scheme by posing as businesses in order to obtain money.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions said: ‘This is a serious and growing area of criminality, which is why we have developed a focused plan to help combat it, providing more resources for specialist economic crime prosecutors, working closer with the police to build strong cases from the outset and giving victims confidence to come forward.’