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‘Beating Crime Plan’ promises end to Action Fraud

The much-unloved national reporting line Action Fraud will be replaced with ‘an improved national fraud and cybercrime reporting system’, the Government has promised in its ‘Beating Crime Plan‘. It promises to increase intelligence capabilities in the National Crime Agency (NCA) and what the document terms ‘the national security community’ to ‘identify the most harmful criminals and organised criminal gangs’.

Professional Security Magazine featured Action Fraud and its shortcomings most recently in its April edition when a senior policeman admitted ‘I don’t pretend that Action Fraud is perfect’.

On the plan launch, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “When I first stood on the steps of Downing Street as Prime Minister, I promised to back the police and make people safer, because we cannot level up the country when crime hits the poorest hardest and draws the most vulnerable into violence. That is why my government has remained unstinting in its efforts to protect the British public and this plan delivers a fresh commitment, as we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, to have less crime, fewer victims and a safer society.”

On fraud, which the plan acknowledges as ‘the biggest crime in England and Wales’, the document promises an ‘Action Plan’, ‘to reduce the serious harm this crime causes and to make it safer for us all as we go about our lives. The threat posed by fraud to our economy and the public is one we are determined to address, working with the public and industry to prevent the crime and by disrupting, pursuing and bringing to justice the most harmful’.

More topically, after the racist abuse directed at some England players after their loss on penalties at the European Championship (Euro 2020) final at Wembley last month, the Government has said that it’s committed to extending the use of Football Banning Orders so that online abusers can be banned from stadiums for up to ten years, in the same way that violent hooligans are barred from grounds; although that assumes that the online hooligans ever attend football.

Much of the plan is taken up with what the Government is already doing, such as the rounds of the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund that gives central Government money to local government and police and crime commissioners, to better secure public spaces such as by adding lighting and CCTV.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am absolutely determined to cut crime and deliver a safer society for the public, and the Beating Crime Plan shows how the government is going to do just that. We’re putting 20,000 new police officers on the street, equipping them with new powers to catch criminals and take away knives, and shutting down drug gangs who exploit children and the vulnerable to make money.

“This plan sets out a clear path for a better future for the British public – one with less crime, fewer victims, and a safer society for all.”

The document promises that the Government ‘will host an employer summit towards the end of this year to bring business and Government together to cut crime’, although the document implies that the topic is the more narrow one of bringing prison leavers into the workforce.

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Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and PCC for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones, said that PCCs recognise the critical role played by neighbourhood police in tackling crime and welcomed that this is given prominence in the plan.

Labour meanwhile has launched a Safer Communities campaign, pointing to anti-social behaviour. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Every person and every family has a basic right to feel safe in their community, but under the Conservatives things are only getting worse. They cut our police to the lowest level in a generation and decimated the services that help prevent crime.

“As a result, we’ve seen antisocial behaviour skyrocketing, criminal gangs exploiting kids to send drugs around the country and an epidemic of violence against women and girls.”

For the 51-page crime plan in full visit gov.uk.


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