HL Deb 29 April 1999 vol 600 cc63-4WA
Lord Burton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Home Office will include fraud among the "national police objectives"; and what other steps they will consider to encourage chief constables to direct more resources to tackling investigations into cases alleging all categories of fraud. [HL2068]

Lord Burlison

We recognise the excellent work that the police do on fraud investigations but we have not included fraud as a specific objective for the police. All the key elements of policing are contained in the overarching aims and objectives for the police service developed by the Comprehensive Spending Review and announced in August 1998. These and the ministerial priorities reflect the Government's policies on crime and disorder and put the emphasis on crime reduction overall, which would include fraud. It is for individual police forces to target their resources where the need is greatest in their area and we would encourage them to continue to reflect fraud related work in their policing plans.

For their part the Government recognise that the investigation and prosecution of fraud can be complex and have asked the Law Commission to undertake work on the law on fraud and to make recommendations to improve the law. This report was published on 27 April 1999. In February 1998, the Government issued a consultation document inviting views on different methods of trial in complex fraud trials. The Government are currently considering the responses that were made.

I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers has recently established an economic crime sub-committee to look in more detail at the investigation of fraud.