Fraud offences rise significantly post pandemic
Official crime statistics for England and Wales released in July show that fraud and computer misuse offences have increased by 37 per cent compared with pre-coronavirus year ending March 2020.
The number of offences recorded are also at the highest since 2005/6.
APCC Lead for Fraud and Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford, said: “It comes as no surprise to me to see that fraud has exponentially increased over the last year, significantly exceeding pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
“Fraud is one of the fastest growing crime types and I have heard first-hand just how it devastates and destroys the lives of those who fall victim to it.
“With the pandemic increasing our reliance on the digital world, the internet has become a breeding ground for criminality. We are seeing more phishing attacks, cyber-attacks, malware ransomware attacks, romance fraud and credit card fraud than ever before. All of which are putting immense pressure on our police forces.
“I have no doubt that the cost of living will have also contributed and will continue to be a factor in the increase of offences. We have already seen insurance companies announce that they have seen an increase in insurance fraud fuelled by the cost of living crisis.
“We need to get a grip on the situation urgently if we are to protect vulnerable people from harm.
“There is a lot more to be done in this area and we are encouraging the government to include fraud in the Strategic Policing Requirement to booster the prioritisation for fraud at a national level.
“Recognising fraud as a priority is a necessary step in continuing the work to build the capabilities and capacity in the whole system to effectively investigate and prosecute fraud.
“As Police and Crime Commissioners we will continue to support victims of crime and improve their experience when they report offences, and I am pleased to now see fraud as a priority in all Police and Crime Plans.”