Strong and certain regulatory regimes are the backbone of investment in London
If you have seen the movie “Wolf of Wall Street”, you will remember when the main character starts selling stocks in “Aerotyne International”: he claims it to be a cutting-edge high-tech firm, but in reality it is a workshop in a garden shed.
People might be familiar with these kinds of scams. Yet these threats are not only alive and well, but growing.
Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, costing the economy billions every year.
Investment scams used to rely on calling people by phone or sending them letters through the post. Now social media gives fraudsters new channels with which to target people, and by which they can pose as legitimate businesses.
The amount lost to investment fraud in 2021/22 rose by a staggering 49 per cent on the year before, costing £890m. Victims lost an average of £34,000 each.
So we hope the next prime minister – whoever that is – will push ahead with the Online Safety Bill, to ensure that social media and technology firms put a real effort into preventing their platforms being used for fraud.
The City of London Police is leading a national campaign to raise awareness of the signs of investment fraud.
As well as keeping the City safe, the force’s priority, supported by the City of London Police Authority Board, is to protect the UK from the threat of economic and cybercrime. This protection is critical to our nation’s competitiveness – especially for the financial, professional and fintech sectors which depend so heavily on confidence and trust.
Soon, the force will benefit from new headquarters at the City’s high-tech justice and policing hub in the Salisbury Square Development, off Fleet Street. Just last week, the Lord Chancellor helped to unveil the foundation stones of the development.
As well as the new police headquarters, the new City of London Law Courts will combine magistrates, civil and crown courts in one flagship facility. The 18 courtrooms will try economic crime cases, supporting our national lead police force.
This effort in protecting our businesses from fraud will go hand in hand with our continuous efforts to protect our planet. The new buildings will have a design life of 125 years, more than double that of a standard commercial development. They will target an excellent sustainability rating, with over 99 per cent of materials from the previous buildings having been reclaimed to be reused and recycled.
The City of London Corporation has long been involved in administering justice, running the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey. Now we are increasing and modernising our court capacity, ensuring the Square Mile stands as a leading centre for law and justice as well as for business.
The two go hand in hand: the City’s position as a world-leading legal centre with effective law enforcement plays a major role in helping the UK attract international business.
The Salisbury Square Development, positioned between the Old Bailey to the east and the Royal Courts of Justice to the west, will ensure that both our police and our courts have the latest technology and facilities to stay one step ahead of fraudsters.
From fighting crime to administering justice, the City of London will make sure that the UK continues to lead the way.