Serious Crime Bill [HL]

Written evidence from the City of London Police (SC 09)

Submitted by the Office of the City Remembrancer

1. The City of London Police has led the implementation of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) since 2010. Prior to this, due to its unique relationships with the financial community in the City and the specialist fraud investigations skills and experience of its detectives, the City Police had been designated the National "Lead (Police) Force" (NLF) for fraud since 2003. The force receives additional funding from the Home Office to investigate serious and complex fraud and also to run the NFIB. These fraud functions come together as the Force’s Economic Crime Directorate and are match funded by the City of London Corporation. Within policing, the force leads the Association of Chief Police Officers Economic Crime Portfolio and has been working with Chief Constables across the country over the past 12 months to define a new model for recording and investigating fraud.

2. The NLF provides specialist advice on law enforcement dealing with often highly complicated and detailed criminality. Its objectives are to provide advice to all police forces, industry investigators and other law enforcement agencies to disseminate best practice, deliver training and act in an independent advisory capacity to other forces on request. The NLF provides a national investigative capacity to deal with all types of fraud (subject to agreed case acceptance criteria) and to assist other police forces in local investigations, and act as a single point of contact for anti-fraud advice.

3. As a result of the Fraud Review in 2006, the concept of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau was created along with Action Fraud (the brand name of the National Fraud Reporting Centre launched and run by the National Fraud Authority) to help UK law enforcement agencies and their partners catch and disrupt criminals and to alert communities to fraud threats. Action Fraud moved to the City of London Police in April 2014. The NFIB gathers a large volume of information on suspected fraud from both public and private sector sources, much of which is not reported to, or made routinely accessible to the police. This is analysed and turned into intelligence such as the identification of the scale of fraudsters’ criminal activities. The intelligence is used to support law enforcement operations and also provide prevention advice to industry.

4. The City of London Police is supportive of the aims of the Bill, particularly Part 2 of the Bill which strengthens the Computer Misuse Act and ensures UK compliance with the Attacks Against Information Systems EU Directive. It has also contributed to the drawing up of the 'beneficial ownership' proposals for off shore subsidiary companies and the asset recovery proposals which should result in more effective seizure under the Proceeds of Crime Act. There may also be a role for the NFIB under Part 3 of the Bill in providing the intelligence and evidence to show ‘participation’ in an organised crime group.

January 2015

Prepared 22nd January 2015