Wednesday 10 February 2016

New Fraud Task Force

New Task Force on Fraud
Same taters different gravy

Today the Home Office announced it latest drive into the world of fraud.
Some commentators have already said this is just another re run of the last one.

I take a slightly though not less cynical view

The latest move seems to be a direct result of the inclusion of reported fraud into the National Crime Statistics that will create an massive increase in overall crime. It also reflects a growing concern about the ease with which crime can be facilitated online with very little chance of detection.

The UK's approach through ActionFraud is fairly unique and is a world leading approach. Creating the capacity for victims to report offending directly and instantly, just doesn't work elsewhere. Likewise the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is also a major step forward to protect the interests of industry and hard working tax payers.

Yet there remain considerable weaknesses in our joined up thinking and so for the benefit of the Task Force here are some ideas

1. Move the NFIB and all national responsibility for fraud into the NCA
2. Invest in prevention efforts. This is not just moving money from the costly CyberStreetWise to the very cost effective  but more importantly invest in the Cybercrime Information Sharing Partnerships (CISP). Nearly all the country is covered by them. But they are run on a shoe string. Invest a little in each to mobilise local business. 
3. Bring cyber safety and fraud prevention into schools at a much earlier age. A large percentage of very young people, 5-10, have access to iPads and tablets with unbelievable computing and communications power. Let them learn properly about their financial vulnerability and build on the work to protect them from sexual harm
4. Make Cyber Essentials compulsory for all those engaged in any web based industry. Set a higher standard and encourage insurance companies to provide discounts where training such as Cyber Essentials has been adopted
5. Encourage social and community groups, particularly those involving elderly and vulnerable people to make use of simple and effective material to help them defend themselves against fraud
6. Ensure that police forces implement the ActionFraud local investigation guidelines. A report of fraud is not an automatic route to ActionFraud. Where there is a potential suspect or a vulnerable person the local police must investigate. HMIC Could do this.
7. Build up the Regional CyberCrime Units to help them bring together local business and link to all business groups sharing best practice and advice.
8. Build on the work of ActionFraud creating a better link between its prevention role and that of Getsafeonline and industry fraud groups.
9.  Encourage forces to work closer to their business and industry groups spreading good practice and advice, especially encouraging Cyber Specials and volunteers
10. Increase the capability of forces to collect evidence of fraud online, especially through the enforcement of ISO 17025 to uphold the integrity of digitally secured evidence.

The UK response to fraud has, and remains, creative and world leading. But we cannot be complacent. 

Many excellent staff and officers work in this field and undertake highly intricate investigations to bring people to justice. Their commitment and professionalism is set alongside the need to protect vulnerable victims and reduce opportunities for offenders to rob people of their hard earned cash.

I hope this latest initiative builds on that work .

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