Government taskforce set up to tackle economic crime

14 Jan 19

The chancellor and the home secretary have set up a taskforce to tackle economic crime.

The cross-departmental board will be the first ever and prevent the public sector losing “billions each year”, according to chancellor Philip Hammond.

The Economic Crime Strategic Board will meet twice a year and set priorities, direct resources and scrutinise performance against economic crime threat.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said: “We need to take action on all fronts to target the corrupt fraudsters, who are lining their pockets with dirty money and living luxury lifestyles at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

“The government is already investing millions in the fight against economic crime, but it is crucial we work closely with our financial sector partners to win this battle.”

Hammond said: “The UK is leading the world in the fight against illicit finance, preventing fraudsters from stealing billions from the public each year. We know more can be done, which is why the home secretary and I are launching the first ever cross-departmental board to prevent more people from becoming victims of economic crime.

“By bringing together specialists across the public and private sector, we can use the best of our expertise to maintain our status as a global financial centre.”

The government will work alongside UK Finance – a trade association – in its attempts to tackle economic crime.

Bob Wigley, chair of UK Finance, said: “We want to ensure the UK is the safest and most transparent financial centre in the world. Banks already spend over £5bn a year fighting economic crime, but the private sector can’t tackle it alone.”

In November, PF reported that the £48m announced under the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy was deemed “insufficient” by criminologists and police bodies.

Last year, the National Crime Agency received a record number of ‘suspicious activity reports’, rising by 10% from the year before.

The Home Office committed £3.5m for 2019-20 to support work to reform the suspicious activity reports regime.

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