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Should reporting of fraud be made compulsory?

Original, plain spoken and relevant – the 121st OSPAs thought leadership webinar this afternoon chaired by Prof Martin Gill took on fraud, and asked if reporting of fraud should be made compulsory.

As Martin Gill said when opening the session, it arose from research by him and fellow crime prevention scholar Dr Janice Goldstraw-White, for the counter-fraud association ACFE; and the UK charity the Fraud Advisory Panel. The panel with differing angles on economic crime were Mike Haley, chief exec of the 600-member counter-fraud trade body Cifas; Lee Fitzgerald, with a banking background, who’s a director of the Fraud Advisory Panel; and Dr David Shepherd, researcher and a Senior Lecturer in Economic Crime at the University of Portsmouth.

Martin Gill as ever asked the panellists to make an opening statement each, before questions. Mike Haley first recalled the UK’s Fraud Review of the mid-2000s, that led to the National Fraud Authority (now defunct; where Haley worked as Director of Public Sector Fraud). Now the UK has the police’s reporting centre Action Fraud; and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). He contrasted more reports of fraud than ever; and yet probably the least ever investigations and prosecutions of fraud going on. Is mandatory reporting even needed? he asked. He suggested there’s a link between more reports, and less action.

There’s little point in companies reporting, when there’s less action on the frauds that we already know about, he said. Would mandatory reporting not just frustrate those who do the right thing? he asked, and bring reputational damage, and little done to bring the guilty to justice?

He gave a parallel with the mandatory reporting of suspicious activity of possible money laundering, whereby banks and others have to supply SARS (suspicious activity reports). He doubted if that has made a dent in money laundering, and called it an ‘expensive bureaucracy’ that, in some ways, hinders work against money laundering; because organisations try to reduce regulatory risk, rather than to actually reduce money laundering, he said.

More in the July 2021 print edition of Professional Security magazine.

Next webinars

The next OSPAs webinar is on Thursday afternoon, on radicalisation; and next Tuesday returns to a previous topic, diversity and inclusion in security. You can sign up to join the webinars for free at https://theospas.com/thought-leadership-webinars/. There you can listen to the past webinars that go back to March 2020. Fraud is the webinar subject again on Thursday, July 8.


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