FSB calls for small business focus for new fraud taskforce

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The serious issue of fraud is to be tackled in the UK

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has responded to the government's announcement that a new taskforce is to be established that will focus on addressing serious issues of fraud within the UK.

As part of these efforts, the FSB believes the Joint Fraud Taskforce must place illegal activities against the nation's small businesses at the top of its priorities.

Announcing the creation of the new taskforce, home secretary Theresa May said the collective powers of the group will play a crucial role in addressing what is a serious risk to the nation's economic stability.

"Fraud shames our financial system," she argued. "It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life. For too long, there has been too little understanding of the problem and too great a reluctance to take steps to tackle it."

The new Joint Fraud Taskforce will consist of representatives from the City of London Police, the National Crime Agency, Financial Fraud Action UK, Cifas, the Bank of England and CEOs of the UK's major banks.

It will provide increased collaboration between the parties, ensuring shared intelligence, a unified response to criminal behaviour and a greater awareness of the risk of fraud among consumers.

The key tenets of the new taskforce will be:

  • To better understand the threat that fraud poses to the nation - highlighting existing intelligence gaps and vulnerabilities.
  • More efficient identification of victims and potential victims of fraud.
  • Determining how best consumers and companies alike can be advised to alter their behaviour in order to limit their risk of fraud in the future.
  • Providing a collective response to major events - fast-tracking intelligence sharing between banks and law enforcement, as well as the creation of a new top ten most-wanted fraudsters list.

Responding to the launch, national vice chairman for the FSB Sandra Dexter stated: "A national top-down approach will not work in isolation. FSB members call on candidates for Police and Crime Commissioners standing in elections across England in May to make fraud and business crime a central part of their plans to fight crime in their areas.

"Small businesses have a part to play too. We would encourage smaller firms to always report crime to the police, as under-reporting and under-recording of evidence prevents a complete picture and hinders the right policy solutions being identified."

Ms Dexter added that the current capacity of law enforcement in the UK is insufficient to deal with the growing issue of fraud, as the present actions to address this problem continue to lag behind the scale of the problem that the nation faces.

As such, she claimed there must therefore not only be an increased focus on this form of criminality in the UK, but also a commitment to increased spending and a determination to bring these criminals to justice.

By doing so, it is hoped that businesses of all sizes, but small firms in particular, will benefit from greater peace of mind in the years ahead, allowing them to focus more closely on the daily problems that they face in growing their business and helping the nation as a whole to prosper.