The Home Office has announced that it will be taking over a project from the Treasury to create a new body to tackle economic fraud to replace the Serious Fraud Agency. The Home Office is to launch a consultation with key stakeholders on the project this spring, to decide whether this new Economic Crime Agency should be amalgamated with the already proposed National Crime Agency (successor to the Serous Organised Crime Agency). The consultation will also consider whether the new agency should have powers of prosecution as well as investigation. As the lead department, the Home Office will work with the Attorney General's office and others including the Ministry of Justice, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.
In the past, politicians have expressed their concern over the lack of prosecution of those committing white-collar offences. Edward Garnier, solicitor-general, who is working alongside Nick Herbert, the Policing Minister, said: "There are a number of agencies all doing things slightly differently and in consequence things are falling between the grilles." It is hoped that re-structuring will coordinate various economic fraud bodies and end the current "piecemeal" approach to tackling white-collar crime. Ministers said they planned to have "the initial elements of the Economic Crime Agency in place in shadow form by the end of the summer".
Although this news is welcomed by most government agencies involved, some have expressed concern over the re-organisation. Under the Treasury proposals, the Financial Services Authority successfully fought to retain its powers to police insider-dealing and Mr. Herbert has said that the City of London police will retain its role as the main anti-fraud force after the creation of the new agency. Adrian Leppard, the City of London police commissioner, agreed that the various bodies needed to work more closely together, but said he did not believe a "structural" solution was necessary.