§ Malcolm Wicks
The available information is in the table.
January 1997 to March 1997 56,740 Not available1 Not available1 April 1997 to March 1998 139,666 Not available1 Not available1 April 1998 to March 1999 106,652 Not available1 Not available1 April 1999 to March 2000 109,489 28,582 335 April 2000 to March 2001 2145,488 33,134 492 April 2001 to March 2002 2150,340 32,943 703 April 2002 to December 2002 291,648 25,081 546 1 Full information on the number of investigations and successful
prosecutions resulting from calls to the National Benefit Fraud
Hotline is available only from April 1999.
2 Figure includes all referrals from the National Benefit Fraud
Hotline including calls received by the Call Centre Bureau, which
since May 2000 has been contracted to answer calls outside
normal working hours when the main hotline unit is closed.
3 The fraud database shows completed cases commenced in the
relevant period. Due to the elapsed time between commencement
of an investigation and completion of a prosecution there are cases
which are inserted into previously completed data for earlier
periods. All totals are therefore correct at the time when quoted
but subject to adjustment at a later date.
National Benefit Fraud Hotline and Fraud Information By Sector system3301W
§ Malcolm Wicks
The primary responsibility for the investigation of benefit fraud lies with Departmental investigators. Where appropriate, for example where the fraudster is committing other crimes that cross organisational boundaries, other law enforcement and public sector agencies provide assistance or work in partnership with our investigations.
The law enforcement agencies with whom we work in partnership to tackle benefit fraud include the police and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. The Department and the Association of Chief Police Officers have recently signed an agreement setting out the principles for legitimate, mutual operational support, to enhance co-operation in the investigation of benefit crime.
Other agencies who provide assistance or work in partnership with our investigations include local authorities, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, the National Asylum Support Service, the Inland Revenue, Trading Standards, the Passport Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the Immigration and Nationality Division, and the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Co-ordination of all joint working is the responsibility of the Chief Investigation Officer, working as necessary with Regional Directors, to develop a unified approach with both local government and other Government Departments.