Serious and organised crime is estimated to cost the UK at least £37bn each year. One in fifteen members of the public are now believed to be falling victim to fraud, with gang violence and drug trafficking regularly financed this way.
The plan was agreed between chancellor Philip Hammond, home secretary Sajid Javid, and heads of law enforcement, major financial institutions and legal, accountancy and property organisations.
The scheme sets out actions for improved levels of information sharing, resource pooling and technological innovation both in the UK and overseas.
Banking giant investors
Some of the biggest UK lenders including Barclays, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS and Santander have agreed to invest £6.5m in 2019/20, in addition to the £3.5m committed by the Home Office this year.
In a bid to reform the suspicious activity reporting regime, all parties will work in partnership to create a funding mechanism to allow richer intelligence and improve operational effectiveness.
The report also outlines the broad-brush stroke goals of establishing a new crypto assets regime and the promotion of technological innovation to combat economic crime and outlined the new asset recovery action plan setting out a range of measures designed to claw back the proceeds of crime, including those held abroad.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “The UK has one of the toughest systems for combating money laundering, but too many people are still falling victim to fraud.
“This crime fuels everything from drug dealing to modern slavery, fundamentally undermining people’s faith in our financial system and impacting economic growth.”
Chairman of UK Finance, Bob Wigley, said: “This plan provides a vital blueprint for how the public and private sector will work together to crack down on the criminals responsible and make this country the cleanest and most transparent for financial business in the world.”
Director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, (NECC) Graeme Biggar, said: “Having a detailed, up to date joint understanding of the threat helps ensure we focus our response where it will have the biggest impact. Our joint work has highlighted the scale and sophistication of the challenge, the extent to which fraud is now cyber enabled, the key role that corrupt or complicit lawyers and accountants and complex corporate structures can play in money laundering, and the importance of tackling money mules.”
“We will work closely with our partners in law enforcement, as well as with the private sector, civil society and the public, to bring those committing economic crime to justice.”
Alongside the Economic Crime Plan, the Government is publishing a new Asset Recovery Action Plan.