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Financial Crime: Prosecution Rates

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 16 September 2021

Thank you, Mr Speaker. May I take this opportunity to place on the record my gratitude to you, to the Prime Minister and the Government, to Opposition parties, to the whole of Parliament and to the brilliant team at the Attorney General’s office for all of their work, which enabled me to take that precious time with my baby? On behalf of my family, may I say that we are incredibly grateful?

The Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office both play a crucial role in tackling financial crime. In 2020-21, the CPS prosecuted more than 6,500 defendants for fraud and forgery, with a conviction rate of 85.6%, and the SFO secured successful judicial outcomes in 84% of cases over the past four financial years.

It is now estimated that 86% of reported fraud is cyber-related. I am concerned that the CPS, the SFO and Action Fraud need the right skills and sense of urgency to deal with this rising crime, which has devastating effects on people’s lives. Can my right hon. and learned Friend update the House on that?

My hon. Friend rightly highlights the significant increase in cyber-crime. I am particularly interested in the issue, and last year I addressed the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime and outlined that cyber-crime is a key priority for this Government. That is why in March this year the CPS launched its first ever economic crime strategy, to ensure that it remains ahead of the changing nature of this complex crime.