The UK Gambling Commission has lauded the Government’s introduction of its Economic Crime Plan, which strives to introduce cross sector collaboration to ensure better safeguards are in place to “protect the security and prosperity of the UK”.
Setting out priority areas for combating crime such as money laundering and terrorist financing, the plan has been agreed by the Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, alongside major financial institutions, legal, accountancy and property organisations and law enforcement, including the Gambling Commission
The UKGC stresses that as a statutory supervisor under the money laundering regulations it “endorses the plan and looks forward to contributing to its delivery”.
Gambling operators are set to play a vital role to assist and realise the step-change plan, with the regulator also urging “operators to pay close attention to the plan and amend their risk assessments, policies and other controls where necessary”.
Releasing further details of the Economic Crime Plan, discussions concerning which began at the start of the year, a collective response has seen the agreement of a joint vision moving forward.
This reads: “For the public and private sectors to jointly deliver a holistic plan that defends the UK against economic crime, prevents harm to society and individuals, protects the integrity of the UK economy, and supports legitimate growth and prosperity”.
“This plan sets out how both sectors will work together to tackle economic crime”
In delivery, seven key priority areas have been established, reflecting the greatest barriers to combating economic crime, as well as where it is seen that the most scope for collaborative work between the public and private sectors could improve response, that are to:
- Develop a better understanding of the threat posed by economic crime and our performance in combating economic crime.
- Pursue better sharing and usage of information to combat economic crime within and between the public and private sectors across all participants.
- Ensure the powers, procedures and tools of law enforcement, the justice system and the private sector are as effective as possible.
- Strengthen the capabilities of law enforcement, the justice system and private sector to detect, deter and disrupt economic crime.
- Build greater resilience to economic crime by enhancing the management of economic crime risk in the private sector and the risk-based approach to supervision.
- Improve our systems for transparency of ownership of legal entities and legal arrangements.
- Deliver an ambitious international strategy to enhance security, prosperity and the UK’s global influence.
The Home Office estimates that the social and economic cost of fraud to individuals in England and Wales is £4.7bn per year, with the cost against businesses and the public sector coming to £5.9bn.
Javid and Hammond stated in the Economic Crime Plan’s ministerial foreward: “The ever-evolving and clandestine nature of economic crime means it can only be combated by harnessing the capabilities, resources, and experience of both the public and private sectors. For the first time, this plan sets out how both sectors will work together to tackle economic crime.
“The work of the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce, which has so far supported over 600 law enforcement investigations, directly contributed to over 150 arrests as well as the seizure or restraint of over £34m in illicit funds, demonstrates what a successful public private partnership can achieve.
“The actions in this plan set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen our whole-system response”
“This plan extends such public-private partnership activity to other areas in our response to economic crime.
“Collectively, the actions in this plan set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen our whole-system response for tackling economic crime. A greater understanding of the threat, improved transparency of ownership, and better sharing and usage of information will enable the public and private sectors to more efficiently and effectively target their resources.
“They will also strengthen the resilience of the UK’s defences against economic crime through enhanced management of economic crime risk in the private sector and the risk-based approach to supervision.
“Where criminal activity has been identified, we will have the powers and capabilities to bring the perpetrators to justice and send the message that crime does not pay. This strong domestic action will underpin our efforts to combat economic crime and illicit financial flows at the international level.”