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Cifas welcomes new Economic Crime Plan, but warns that new fraud offence may leave UK SMEs exposed to fraud 

30 March 2023

Cifas welcomes new Economic Crime Plan, but warns that new fraud offence may  leave UK SMEs exposed to fraud 

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, welcomes today’s launch of the new Economic Crime Plan and its commitment to reduce fraud and money laundering, but warns that excluding SMEs from the ‘failure to prevent’ fraud offence may leave them vulnerable to fraud.  

The plan places a greater focus on fraud, which includes greater prosecution and disruption of offenders. This follows the recent announcement that fraud will now form part of the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR), requiring police forces to include fraud within their individual policing plans. The Economic Crime Plan also commits to increasing law enforcement capacity, which will be critical to delivering on those prosecution targets and providing a meaningful enforcement deterrent. 

In addition to pursuing fraudsters, the Plan commits to blocking frauds and harnessing data sharing to help reduce fraud, as well as introducing a ‘failure to prevent’ fraud offence. This new offence will hold large companies responsible for frauds committed by an associated person, where that organisation did not have reasonable procedures in place to prevent fraud. 

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘I welcome the introduction of the Economic Crime Plan which I believe is a positive step towards reducing fraud.  

‘I especially welcome the recognition of the important part that sharing data plays in combatting fraud, however it is essential that if this is to be effective, it includes sharing law enforcement data and intelligence with industry and public sector partners. This will empower organisations to prevent fraud, and I look forward to working with law enforcement partners to deliver effective data sharing to disrupt criminals and further protect the public and businesses from fraud. 

‘I am concerned that the planned exclusion of SMEs in the ‘failure to prevent’ fraud offence may inadvertently put them at greater risk of fraud. SMEs represent over 99% of UK businesses, often holding sensitive personal and financial data as well as tens of millions of pounds of funds, and so it is crucial that the plan looks to include these businesses to help better protect both them and the wider UK economy from fraud attacks. 

‘We now await the release of the Home Office Fraud Strategy, and it is critical that the commitments made in the Economic Crime Plan are aligned with this to ensure an effective and joined-up cross agency response to fraud and all its challenges.’ 

Notes to Editors 

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2022, Cifas member organisations prevented around £1.3 billion of fraud losses. 

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud. 

For more information, please contact Corinne Gladstone, Head of Strategic Communications, on 020 4551 7072 or

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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