A dedicated place for volume
fraud within the current UK
economic crime agenda?
The Greater Manchester police case study
St John’s Buildings Chambers, Manchester, UK, and
Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore how a large UK police force – Greater
Manchester Police (GMP) – sought during a period of continuing budget reductions to take a
cost-effective approach to certain types of fraud through the establishment of a central Volume
Fraud Team (VFT), which in turn would also have wider operational resource benets across the
force. It then explores the decision to merge that team with its existing serious and complex fraud
Design/methodology/approach – The research was undertaken over a period of two years by
interview and desk review to explain the internal processes which underpinned the approach and
the initial outcomes. It discusses why the approach was short lived as a consequence of other
Findings – The paper sets out briey the context of changes to the policing of fraud since 1979 and
describes the GMP decision-making processes that established a centralised response to volume
fraud and major (serious and complex) fraud. The paper assesses the available data on the
approach and whether the changes facilitated a more effective means of addressing fraud and other
internal policing priorities. It then discusses the decision in 2014 to merge the staff resources for
volume and major frauds in response to identied policy trends in fraud investigations and
changes in fraud reporting.
Research limitations/implications – The single case study is limited in terms of focus and in
applicability to the wider law enforcement response to fraud.
Practical implications – The research discusses practitioner issues arising from the complexities of
balancing resources and priorities against changing trends and patterns of criminal activity in a specic
area of policing.
Originality/value – The research is an original study into the internal and external change agendas,
and there are, therefore, wider lessons for the policing of fraud in the UK.
Keywords Fraud, Policing, Comprehensive spending review, Economic crime agenda
Paper type Research paper
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) operates with approximately 6,900 police ofcers,
3,600 members of support staff and 800 police community support staff. The force was
formed in 1974 and serves more than 2.5 million people over an area of 500 square miles.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.23 No. 4, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited