Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
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Fraud lead calls for extensive review of fraud governance

APCC Lead on Fraud and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Shelford has called for clarity around fraud governance following the publication of a ‘Progress on Fraud’ National Audit Office (NAO) report released this week.

The report finds that the Home Office has taken limited action to improve its response to fraud since the last NAO report was published five years ago. For the Government’s Fraud Strategy to succeed the report states that the Home Office must be vigorous in leading a cross-government response that is informed by a thorough understanding of what works in combatting fraud.

APCC National Lead on Fraud and Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Mark Shelford, said: “It is the role of Police and Crime Commissioners to hold forces to account for their response to fraud and we play a fundamental role in protecting individual businesses and safeguarding victims, however this is not identified or acknowledged in the report.

“The report also states that fraud accountability is the responsibility of the National Crime Agency, which is not the case. The National Economic Crime Centre are located with the National Crime Agency whose purpose is to provide coordination across all partners in law enforcement and with industry on the response to fraud. They are still developing but are doing good work around raising awareness and utilising their platforms to educate the public and prevent fraud.

“What is clear following the publication of this report and many others is that the landscape is currently extremely confusing not only for the public and private sectors but also for those who fall victim of fraud. We must make it clear to victims where to go to report fraud and get advice and support.

“There is an urgent need for action to respond to fraud right now at a local level and this is where our role as PCCs comes in. We fund services which provide victims with support and educate and inform our local businesses and the public on how to prevent fraud.”

The report also states that the Home Office does not have the data it needs to understand the full scale of the problem and it is not able to accurately measure the impact of its policies on this growing area of crime.

“The National Audit Office report also contradicts a report published yesterday (14 November) by the Fraud Act 2006 Committee. This contradiction is indicative of a wider problem in fraud where governance across the whole system is in need of revision. The question of who answers to who, and where responsibility sits, is confused.

“This is the case for enforcement in the public and private sectors as well as for legislators. What is needed is a wholesale review of governance of fraud, not just at a government level but across the system nationally,” Mark concluded.

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