Skip to main content

Reclaimed billions could support ‘under-resourced’ law enforcement

By January 28, 2022February 16th, 2022Criminal, Government, People

The billions recovered by law enforcement through fines and confiscations should be utilised by the UK to create a ‘central economic crime fighting fund’ to support agencies which are ‘under- resourced, over-stretched, and out-gunned’, a recent report details.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has suggested that the UK loses approximately £290bn each year to fraud and money laundering, which when combined equals to almost 15% of the UK’s GDP.

Nonetheless, anti-corruption charity Spotlight on Corruption has estimated that the average sum spent per year on law enforcement agencies was £852m, equivalent to just 0.09% of entire government spending or 0.042% of GDP.

In a report published this week, Spotlight on Corruption stated that The Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service and the NCA ,proposed around £3.9bn through fines, confiscation, forfeiture and civil recovery orders, between 2016 and 2021.

For example, assets worth £568m were recovered by the CPS through its proceeds of crime unit over the past five years, which is ‘eleven times more than its £51.7m budget for the same period’.

It is estimated by Spotlight of Corruption that if that £3.9bn total was reinvested back into the agencies, ‘overall enforcement spending could have been provisionally increased by an additional £748m per year – an approximate increase of 93% on current funding levels’.

However, despite making a significant revenue, ‘law enforcement budgets at core agencies tasked with fighting economic crime continue to suffer from real-term cuts and short-term budget allocations rather than sustained investment’, it further added.

The report detailed: ‘Existing government proposals for funding law enforcement are not sufficient to drive the transformational change needed to keep pace with what the government recognises as a severe and growing threat. If the UK is to tackle economic crime effectively, far greater ambition about the scale of public investment needed is required.’

Spotlight on Corruption also requested ‘a coherent strategy for protecting the public purse in economic crime law enforcement actions’, which would include the progression of ‘an enforceable model litigant code for lawyers to prevent the use of stalling and spurious tactics that waste court time and drain public resources’, and collaborating with judges ‘to ensure better judicial management of cases to strike out abusive litigation tactics’.

Leave a Reply