Government announces new taskforce to tackle economic crime

16th January 2019 Business Crime

It was announced this week on the 14th January 2019 that the Home Secretary and the Chancellor will together be chairing a new government taskforce (the Economic Crime Strategic Board) which will focus specifically on tackling economic crime.

Economic crime encompasses a wide range of offences including:

  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Corruption
  • Money Laundering

Economic Crime is estimated to be occurring on a vast scale with at least £14.4 billion being lost each year as a result of criminal activity and the purpose of the new taskforce is to attempt to tackle this by directing resources and setting priorities as well as measuring success in dealing with economic crime against the Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) Strategy.

The board of the taskforce will include representatives from various different fields which are all heavily affected by financial crime. To include, representatives from the financial sector, the National Crime Agency, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Accountant Affinity Group and the National Association of Estate Agents.

The board are first due to meet on 21st January 2019 and the Home Secretary is set to confirm that his department will commit £3.5 million to support work to redesign the system currently in place in respect of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR). It is hoped that reform of the system will make it easier for those in regulated sectors to make reports which in turn will have a positive impact on economic crime rates. The number of SAR reports being submitted has risen significantly year on year since 2017, highlighting growing awareness and concern of the prevalence of economic crime. These reports assist the National Crime Agency in dealing with the issue.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said of the announcement:

“The Government is already investing millions in the fight against economic crime, but it is crucial we work closely with our financial sector partners to win this battle.

These criminals threaten the UK’s reputation as a world-leading place to do business and we have a joint responsibility to stop them.„

If you or your company have been the victim of a financial crime, or have been accused of being involved in financial criminal activity, please contact our Business Crime team on 0800 652 5559 who will be happy to provide some guidance.

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Grace O'Driscoll is a Trainee Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Trainee Solicitors department

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