HC Deb 20 October 1966 vol 734 cc390-1
28. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present strength of the police Fraud Squad; and what plans he has for its expansion.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Dick Taverne)

The present strength of the Fraud Squad is 83, against an establishment of 84. No increase is contemplated at present.

Mr. Whitaker

In view of the growing evidence that, despite several newspapers risking libel actions, large-scale frauds can go uninvestigated until they cause considerable damage, will my hon. and learned Friend consider co-opting civilian chartered accountants to assist the police?

Mr. Taverne

It is certainly true that the Fraud Squad is heavily engaged, but its establishment was reviewed within the last two years, when it was increased by 20. As my Answer indicated, the Fraud Squad is approximately up to establishment and we do not intend to increase it. I think that the Squad can cope with the difficulties.

Mr. Hogg

Turning to the substance of the supplementary question, will the Under-Secretary confirm or deny that there are no qualified accountants at present operating in the Fraud Squad as an integral part of its establishment?

Mr. Taverne

That is a point I shall look at. The Fraud Squad certainly uses expert knowledge, but I will take account of the supplementary questions asked by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and by my hon. Friend.