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Just 2% of police resources are spent tackling the widespread crime, damning audit reveals 

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Scandal of UK’s forgotten 700k fraud victims: Just 2% of police resources are spent tackling the widespread crime, damning audit reveals

  • Only 2 per cent of all police resources are dedicated to combatting fraud
  • But the crime accounts for 39 per cent of reported criminal offences
  • 700,000 victims – around 22 per cent of the 4.6million people who fall victim to fraud each year – are deeply affected, losing thousands or their entire savings
  • An audit on the fraud epidemic sweeping Britain is to be published today by Dame Vera Baird, the Government’s Victims’ Commissioner
  • Baird slammed police forces’ response to the crime as ‘extremely disappointing’ 










Hundreds of thousands of fraud victims suffer ‘profound’ effects after being targeted – even though just a tiny proportion of police resources are spent on tackling the crime, a damning audit warns today.

The official victims’ watchdog revealed for the first time that there are 700,000 hardest-hit fraud victims a year in England and Wales – including many elderly people.

Only 2 per cent of all police resources are dedicated to combatting fraud, even though it accounts for 39 per cent of reported criminal offences.

The 700,000 victims – around 22 per cent of the 4.6million people who fall victim to fraud each year – are deeply affected, experiencing emotional damage and very high levels of financial loss.

Many lose £1,000 or more while some are heartlessly conned of their life savings.

Only 2 per cent of all police resources are dedicated to combatting fraud, even though it accounts for 39 per cent of reported criminal offences

Only 2 per cent of all police resources are dedicated to combatting fraud, even though it accounts for 39 per cent of reported criminal offences

The official victims’ watchdog revealed for the first time that there are 700,000 hardest-hit fraud victims a year in England and Wales – including many elderly people

The official victims’ watchdog revealed for the first time that there are 700,000 hardest-hit fraud victims a year in England and Wales – including many elderly people 

The terrifying audit on the epidemic of fraud sweeping Britain is to be published today by Dame Vera Baird, the Government’s Victims’ Commissioner.

Last night, she slammed police forces’ response to the crime as ‘extremely disappointing’.

Her report also found just 15 per cent of frauds are being reported to the police or Action Fraud – the national clearing house for financial crime that is set to be scrapped because of a string of failings.

Dame Vera added many victims end up ‘falling through the net’ even if they report the crime.

It comes as Money Mail today publishes the last of its ‘Outsmart the Scammers’ series to help readers protect their pocket from fraud.

The report breaks down for the first time the groups of victims who suffer the most from fraud, and described the scale as ‘hard to comprehend’. 

It concluded the elderly, disabled and ethnic minorities are at greater risk.

The terrifying audit on the epidemic of fraud sweeping Britain is to be published today by Dame Vera Baird, the Government’s Victims’ Commissioner

The terrifying audit on the epidemic of fraud sweeping Britain is to be published today by Dame Vera Baird, the Government’s Victims’ Commissioner

The Government is set to replace the much-criticised Action Fraud service with a new strategy to tackle the appalling crime which soared by 24 per cent during the pandemic

The Government is set to replace the much-criticised Action Fraud service with a new strategy to tackle the appalling crime which soared by 24 per cent during the pandemic

Dame Vera said: ‘At the moment victims do not know who to turn to when seeking advice, support or even when they are looking for redress through the criminal justice system. Most experience little to no victim care.

‘This is extremely disappointing, especially given that long-lasting harm can frequently be suffered by victims.

‘With only 2 per cent of police resources allocated to fraud and less than 8,000 fraud prosecutions in 2019, we need to know how well the overwhelming majority of fraud victims who will not get a criminal justice outcome are being supported.’

The report said by categorising victims by how badly they suffered at the hands of scammers, it could help the authorities to prioritise those who most need help.

The Government is set to replace the much-criticised Action Fraud service with a new strategy to tackle the appalling crime which soared by 24 per cent during the pandemic.

Dame Vera said: ‘At the moment victims do not know who to turn to when seeking advice, support or even when they are looking for redress through the criminal justice system. This is extremely disappointing, especially given that long-lasting harm can frequently be suffered by victims.'

Dame Vera said: ‘At the moment victims do not know who to turn to when seeking advice, support or even when they are looking for redress through the criminal justice system. This is extremely disappointing, especially given that long-lasting harm can frequently be suffered by victims.’

‘The publication of the strategy can’t come soon enough – it needs to be bold, ambitious and backed up by significant resourcing. Anything less will be a disservice to victims and a boon to fraudsters,’ said Dame Vera.

In August, a report by the police watchdog found too many fraud victims were still being denied justice and that police forces treat it as a ‘low priority’.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services also revealed that a computer system used by police to investigate fraud is ‘not fit for purpose’ and is not set to be replaced for three years.

A government spokesman said it is ‘deeply concerned about the devastating impact fraud can have on victims’. 

He added the Government was giving an extra £63million to police so they can crack down on fraud and recruit specialist officers. 

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