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December 5, 2014

City police chief calls for forced fraud reporting

80% of cyber fraud said to be unreported, with crime costing UK £30bn a year.

By Jimmy Nicholls

The police commission of the City of London has called for mandatory fraud reporting for banks, in a bid to combat cybercrime.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Adrian Leppard claimed that while cyber fraud costs the UK £30bn every year, four-fifths of crimes go unreported.

"The banks will not give us information about crimes at the moment and there is no regulatory requirement for them to do so," he said.

"I have been saying for some time that we must find ways of encouraging that. Unless the country and society can get a true feel about the nature of crime we cannot address it."

Under British law companies are not compelled to tell police or customers when they have been hacked, in stark contrast to some states in the US.

However regulation gives companies strong incentive to report breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as delays can increase the risk of a fine.

"I don’t think we will necessarily get the banks to [report] voluntarily," Leppard said. "We should have a conversation about whether it is time to regulate that – to find some sort of means by which it is enforced."

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He added that about 20% of crime groups in the UK were involved in fraud or some kind of economic crime, but that most economic crime was perpetrated by foreign gangs, which led to extradition problems.

"We know the scale of the offending is huge and the police capacity to deal with it is not, which is why we have to move more and more to a mindset of prevention," he said.

His comments contrast with the views of many of those involved in cybersecurity, which this year has increasingly turned focus away from prevention to focus on detection and response.

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