Chi Onwurah – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Chi Onwurah on 2015-12-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what basis Action Fraud determines which reported frauds to pursue for investigation; and whether the amount defrauded influences such decisions.

Mike Penning

Action Fraud is the national reporting point for fraud and also cyber crime. Crime reports received by Action Fraud are considered by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), both of which are operated by the City of London Police. Neither Action Fraud nor the NFIB are investigatory agencies. Crime reports are evaluated to assess the information available which could assist an investigation, and to identify links between seemingly unconnected incidents. Where there is enough evidence available and a viable lead, actionable intelligence packages are created by the NFIB and are sent to the appropriate police force to consider whether enforcement activity should take place. All crime reports are assessed against a number of variables, which may alter according to demand. It would be improper to comment on the procedure on which these decisions are made in the public domain.

Action Fraud was rolled out to all police forces in April 2013; the data below includes crime reports and disseminations in England and Wales only. For the 12 months to 31 March 2015, Action Fraud received 230,399 reports of crime. Of these, 14,509 were cyber dependent crimes, namely, crimes which can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of information communication technology – for example, hacking or malware offences. These crimes fall under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. For this period, the NFIB disseminated a total of 61,682 crimes to Forces and partner agencies to consider investigation. For the period April 2013 – March 2014 Action Fraud received 211,221 crime reports and of these, 21,686 were cyber dependent. For this period, the NFIB disseminated a total of 39,138 crimes to Forces and partner agencies to consider investigation.

Historically the Action Fraud capability came into life in 2009 and was funded by the National Fraud Authority (NFA), which has since been closed, a proportion of the NFA’s total budget was used to fund the Action Fraud Capability and is as follows:

• 2009/10 £5.7 million including a £1.4 million uplift to set up the service

• 2010/11 £4.9 million

• 2011/12 £6.68 million

• 2012/13 £9.4 million

Since the closure of the NFA in March 2014 Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have been funded by Home Office funding, Cabinet Office funding for Cyber Security and funding from the City of London Police core grant, and is as follows:

• 2013/14 £11.11 million

• 2014/15 £10.62 million

• 2015/16 £11.03 million