The United Kingdom is to create a multi-agency unit which will coordinate the work of various government departments involved in the fight against economic crime.
The new National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) will operate within the National Crime Agency (NCA) and will be backed by “greater intelligence and analytical capabilities.”
It will draw on expertise from across government, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, as well as new resources provided by the private sector, a Home Office statement said.
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said: “There is a myth that there are no real victims of economic crime, but I have seen first-hand how it can ruin people’s lives.”
“It is not a victimless crime and so it’s vital we tackle these offences that can leave innocent people destitute, cost the country billions every year, and allow gangs to profit from serious and violent crimes.”
The NECC will also seek to bring together the knowledge and skills of the UK’s law enforcement agencies alongside those of the private sector, said the NCA’s Nigel Kirby.
“We will share information to develop understanding of the threats and plan a coordinated response to protect the public and UK businesses, not just by responding to criminal attacks on the system but through understanding the emerging threats and seeking to be one step ahead,” Kirby said.
The NCA has already started working with the private sector to investigate and address money laundering issues through its Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT).
The unit was launched in 2015, and between May 2016 and March 2017, it saw over 1,000 bank-led investigations into suspect customers, the closure of more than 450 suspicious bank accounts, and the freezing of £7 million in suspected criminal funds.
According to the Home Office, the scale of money laundering impacting the UK is likely to exceed £90 billion a year.
“This represents the proceeds of a range of exploitative and violent crimes, including large scale drug dealing and people trafficking. In 2016, 1,435 people were convicted of money laundering in England and Wales,” it said.