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Economic Crime Strategy 2025

|Publication, Fraud and economic crime

Introduction

Our Economic Crime Strategy provides a high-level vision of where we want to be by 2025, helping to focus our work where it really matters. The strategy is supported by a commitment to ensure the right person is prosecuted for the right offence in a timely manner, that victims and witnesses are at the heart of our casework and that any proceeds of crime are recovered. It represents a clear articulation of the role that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will play in contributing to improving criminal justice outcomes in economic crime.

Economic crime refers to a broad category of activity involving money, finance or assets, the purpose of which is to unlawfully obtain a profit or advantage for the perpetrator or cause loss to others. This poses a threat to the UK’s economy and its institutions and causes serious harm to society and individuals. It includes criminal activity which:

  • allows criminals to benefit from the proceeds of their crimes or fund further criminality;
  • damages our financial system and harms the interests of legitimate business;
  • undermines the integrity of the UK’s position as an international financial centre; and
  • poses a risk to the UK’s prosperity, national security and reputation.

This definition is broader than terms such as ‘financial crime’ or ‘white-collar crime’ to provide a holistic response to the following types of criminality:

  • fraud against the individual, private sector and public sector;
  • terrorist financing;
  • sanctions;
  • market and regulator abuse;
  • bribery and corruption; and
  • the laundering of proceeds of all crimes.

The CPS has played an increasingly important role in tackling economic crime in recent years. We have contributed to the establishment of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and are supporting the delivery of the government’s Public/Private Economic Crime Plan and Asset Recovery Action Plan, which build upon the commitments set out in the Anti-Corruption Strategy and Serious and Organised Crime Strategy. However, we recognise that more needs to be done.

Economic crime is not victimless and we understand that, whether they are individuals, organisations or government, every victim deserves justice. Criminals continue to exploit social situations and national disasters and we know all too well the impact it can have on people’s lives. We want the public to be confident that even in very difficult circumstances we continue to work hard to deliver justice for all.

Progress is only possible through a long-term and concerted effort and investment from all parts of the criminal justice system. This is why we are continuing to work with partners across the criminal justice system to ensure the system has the capability and capacity to tackle the economic crime threat effectively.

Our strategy reflects the CPS’s commitment to this endeavour and is developed within the context of our overall five-year strategy: CPS 2025. It provides our high-level vision and every year significant steps towards achieving these aims will be included in our annual action plan. We will assess the impact from the delivery of these activities through a range of success measures.

Baljit Ubhey, Director of Strategy and Policy

Andrew Penhale, Head of the Specialist Fraud Division

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Proceeds of Crime Division

Nick Price, Head of the International and Organised Crime Division


Our People

Aim:

Our people will have the skills and tools they need to prosecute increasingly complex economic crime cases.

Outcomes:

  • Training and support materials are up to date and easy to find.
  • All legal staff across the CPS are supported and confident in prosecuting economic crime cases.
  • A network of prosecutors who have the skills and tools they need to prosecute the most complex economic crime cases is created and maintained.
  • Our people understand the implications of new technology and the changing nature of economic crime.

Digital Capability

Aim:

Digital tools are utilised for case management, preparation and presentation in economic crime cases.

Outcomes:

  • We conduct virtual hearings where appropriate.
  • Use data to identify thematic trends and inform future planning, improving our response to the threat.
  • Our IT infrastructure effectively accommodates economic crime cases.
  • Evidence is clearly presented, with any data illustrated, so it’s easily understood at court.
  • The use of AI in disclosure is explored.

Strategic Partnerships

Aim:

CPS operational insights are used by partners to improve the UK’s response to economic crime.

Outcomes:

  • Relevant legislative reforms and wider government objectives, strategies and initiatives reflect our priorities and insights.
  • We are a key partner is delivering a whole system response to economic crime.
  • Our responses to new and emerging threats and challenges, including those stemming from Covid-19, are planned and delivered with, and through, key partners.
  • Our diverse partners understand the different ways in which CPS expertise contributes to their work.
  • Operational delivery is advanced by strong international partnerships on economic crime.

Casework Quality

Aim:

An innovative approach will ensure our casework delivers improved justice outcomes in a timely manner.

Outcomes:

  • We have the right structures and resources in place at a local, regional and national level.
  • We proactively shape complex economic crime cases, providing early investigative advice.
  • Improved criminal justice outcomes in a timely manner.
  • Asset recovery (both criminal and civil) and ancillary orders are successfully considered and pursued in all economic crime cases where possible.
  • International deployments are used to tackle economic crime where there is an impact on domestic casework.

Public Confidence

Aim:

Victims and witnesses are at the heart of every case and we communicate effectively about our role in tackling economic crime.

Outcomes:

  • The diverse needs of victim and witnesses will be considered so they are supported to give their best evidence.
  • Our economic crime policies are developed and informed by victim feedback and community engagement.
  • A clear economic crime communication strategy, promoting our work and casework successes, is delivered.
  • Proceeds of crime, both domestically and internationally, are recovered, depriving criminals of their ‘ill-gotten gains’ and compensating victims where possible.

Available to download

CPS 2025 Economic Crime Strategy (PDF document, approx 405kb)

Further reading

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