City policing chief: UK needs disclosure of evidence regime fit for digital age

A City of London policing head last night called for the Government to reform the disclosure system, which was designed before mass digital data, “to deliver faster and more effective justice for victims.”

Chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, James Thomson, said “too many cases are scuppered by the weaponisation of disclosure by defence teams”.

Speaking to an audience of police, business leaders, and security personnel at the City of London Police Authority Board Dinner, Mr Thomson told guests: “we need a disclosure regime that is fit for the digital age - not the analogue one.”

And the former City of London Police Special Constable said it is “critical” that Government includes an offence of ‘failure to prevent fraud’ in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which “needs to have real teeth.”

Mr Thomson said that the Online Safety Bill puts a duty on large social media firms to prevent their platforms from being used to permit fraud. But he said that obligation “should extend to all organisations – much in the same way that health and safety legislation applies to keeping people safe in the physical environment.”

He told guests that forces are “having to adapt to deal with an explosion of online crime” with fraudsters “exploiting technological developments and vulnerable people to fund all manner of criminal lifestyles.”

He said that fraud and cybercrime now account for over 40% of all offences, but the investigation and prosecution of fraud nationally, whilst improving, “still remains low…and under prioritised”, with just under two per cent of overall policing resources dedicated to tackling it.

But he said funding from the Government’s last spending review is building new capabilities across law enforcement agencies.

And he said the updated Strategic Policing Requirement, published last week by the Home Office, “gives the threat posed by fraud and the role of the City of London Police the prominence it needs - recognition by Government that tackling fraud and cyber is a real priority”.

Mr Thomson said a new network of regional proactive economic crime teams, under the leadership of the City of London Police, will strengthen investigative capabilities nationally.

And he told guests that the Government and the City Corporation are investing in a next generation national fraud and cybercrime reporting service.

He said the City Corporation is investing £350m in a new court complex and City of London Police headquarters in Salisbury Square to increase capacity in the UK courts system for prosecuting fraudsters.


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council is the Police Authority for the Square Mile. The Police Authority Board is responsible for holding the Commissioner of the City of London Police to account. It aims to make sure the force is running an effective and efficient service, ensuring value for money, and setting policing priorities considering the views of the local community.