UK must ensure it’s world’s ‘safest place to do business,’ City of London police boss says
The UK must protect itself against fraud and cybercrime to ensure it is the “safest place to do business in the world,” the head of the City of London police’s authority board said.
The chair of the City of London police authority board James Thompson said ensuring businesses and customers are protected is “vital” to Britain’s economic growth.
The comments were made at the launch of the police-led Cyber Resilience Centre for London which aims to boost businesses vulnerability to cybercrime.
“Reducing the vulnerability in our business community will ultimately protect us all,” Thompson said.
The launch comes after City law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon (EMM) launched its own pro-bono cybercrime helpline, to offer advice on launching private prosecutions against hackers.
Private prosecutions let victims of fraud and cybercrime circumvent the justice system by launching prosecutions privately, as the UK’s law enforcement agencies struggle with scarce resources.
The launch of EMM’s cyber helpline follows the publication of findings by the House of Commons justice committee showing fraud now accounts for 40 per cent of all crime – even as just two per cent of police funding is dedicated to tackling the problem.
“The state is effectively not functioning in this area,” EMM partner Ashley Fairbrother told City A.M. as he explained that private prosecutions are often the only way victims are able to recover stolen assets.
He noted that in one case, a seventy-year-old man that lost the entirety of his £300,000 life-savings used a private prosecution to recover the bulk of his stolen cash.
“Were it not for the private prosecution route, it’s likely none of it would be recovered,” Fairbrother said.
He explained EMM decided to launch their helpline after seeing “the amount of fraud that was going unprosecuted by the state”.
According to figures from the UK’s office for national statistics (ONS), just 7,609 defendants were prosecuted for fraud or forgery in the year ending in September 2021, despite there being an estimated 4.6m fraud cases over the same period.