Scam advertising included in Online Safety Bill “major step forward”, says City of London police chiefs

The Government’s decision to include paid-for advertising in the Online Safety Bill has been welcomed today by the City of London Corporation’s Police Authority Board and the City of London Police.

The City Corporation’s Police Authority Board, which sets policing priorities for the City of London and ensures that the City of London Police runs an effective and efficient service, has been campaigning with the force and a range of industry bodies for paid-for advertising and fraud to be included in the Bill.

City of London policing chiefs backed the Government’s announcements in February that fraud would be treated in the draft legislation as a ‘priority harm’.

A City of London Police Authority Board spokesperson said:

“The inclusion of paid-for advertising in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill is a major step forward in the fight to reduce online crime, and helps cement the benefits of including fraud as a priority harm.

“It has long been our firmly held view that people must be protected from scam adverts, and it is hugely encouraging that the Government is moving decisively to clamp down on them.

“Targeting criminals, reducing crime, and helping prevent people from falling victim to fraud and scams are at the heart of this new legislation which, increasingly, feels more comprehensive.”

Service Delivery Director at the City of London Police, Chris Bell, said:

“We are delighted that the Government has responded to calls to include paid-for advertising in the Online Safety Bill. This was a vital and missing piece of the Bill, offering greater protection to the public from criminals intent on deceiving them into losing their money.

“It is estimated that at least 35,000 reports into Action Fraud over the last year were connected to fraudulent online advertising, with victims losing a total of nearly £400,000 as a result.”

The City of London Police receives 800,000 reports of fraud every year. It accounts for 40% of all crimes and is of increasing importance nationally, but only receives a fraction - just under 2% - of police resources to tackle it.

Fraud is an under-reported crime, and reported losses were around £2.3bn in the last financial year.

As well as substantial financial loss, it causes significant harm to victims of crime, many often highly vulnerable, and in many cases that harm is life-changing.


Notes for Editors:

For media enquiries:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Public Services), City of London Corporation

T: 07795 333060 / E:

About the City of London Corporation:

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. 

About the City of London Police Authority Board:

Managed by the City of London Corporation, the City of London Police Authority Board’s role is to make sure that the City of London Police runs an effective and efficient service by holding the Commissioner to account; to ensure value for money in the way the police is run, and to set policing priorities taking into account the views of the community. [The Court of Common Council is the Police Authority for the Square Mile as set out in the City of London Police Act 1839. Under Section 56 of the Act, the Common Council delegated to the Police Authority Board all of its police authority functions (with the exception of the appointment of the Commissioner)].

About the City of London Police:

The City of London Police is responsible for policing the City's business district, the 'Square Mile' in the historical centre of London. In addition, it holds national responsibility for Economic Crime and under this remit, it is host to Action Fraud (the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service); the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau; the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department; and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. The City of London continues to be one of the safest urban areas in the country.