London's cyber fear - the worry of online crime

19 March 2015

63% of Londoners are worried about becoming victims of fraud through using online banking or by using their credit or debit cards on the internet.[1]

Of the 1,004 Londoners surveyed, a higher proportion had been the victim of an online theft or fraud than of more traditional forms of property crime, such as burglary or robbery.[1]

A report published by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee – ‘Tightening the net: the Metropolitan Police Service’s response to online theft and fraud’ – examines trends in online theft and fraud and assesses how the Metropolitan Police is dealing with the threat to businesses and the public.

One recommendation is for the Met Police to appoint a senior ranking officer responsible for ensuring the whole force is prepared to tackle online crime – not just the Met’s new Fraud and Linked Crime Online (FALCON) Command. The report also highlights a number of issues:

Increasingly, almost all crimes have a ‘cyber-dimension’ to them.

Fraud, in particular, has been transformed, with 70 per cent of frauds now carried out using the internet.[2]

City of London Police estimates that, across England and Wales, 1,160,500 frauds, with a loss worth £12.1 billion, went unreported by individuals and businesses during 2013-14.[3]

Some large businesses currently make a commercial decision not to report online crimes to the police, particularly if they feel there is little chance that the perpetrators will be caught.[4]

The Mayor should launch a London-wide campaign in partnership with the City of London Police, banks and other key stakeholders to raise awareness of the threat of online crime.

​To launch the report, Roger Evans AM, who chaired the investigation, will visit Victim Support’s Victim Assessment Referral Centre for London. He will be joined by:

Supt Peter O’Doherty, Head of National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), City of London Police

Jeff Gardner, London Director, Victim Support

Location: Hannibal House, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6TE

Date and Time: Thursday 19 March, 10am-11am

Closest Tube: Elephant and Castle (Northern and Bakerloo line)

Media are invited to attend

Chairman of the Online Crime Working Group, Roger Evans AM, said;

We’re glad to see that traditional forms of property crime such as burglary and robbery are falling but a worrying trend is emerging in the rise of online crime. Criminals can now target large numbers of people for little or no cost and with only limited technical knowledge. E-mail scams, for example, have become a low-risk, high-gain form of theft for criminals.

“Our report makes recommendations which we believe will help tackle the very real threat of online crime head on. Londoners need to be savvy to the large number of criminals now operating from their laptops rather than our streets. We must create a police force that bears down on criminals who feel that the internet is their safe haven.”

Director at Victim Support in London, Jeff Gardner, said:

“As a charity that supports thousands of crime victims every year, we know that cyber crime can be terrifying – it can make victims feel like they are facing a powerful and invisible attacker. Many victims feel like there’s nothing that can be done to stop online attackers and that they are alone, but this isn’t the case.

“It’s so important that people take steps to protect themselves online too – lots of tips can be found on our website.”

Notes for Editors

Survey commissioned by the London Assembly of 1,004 Londoners conducted by TNS Omnibus.

Tightening the net: the Metropolitan Police Service’s response to online theft and fraud.

Source: City of London Police submission to the investigation.

Source: Online Crime Working Group site visit to City of London Police, 26 November 2014.

Roger Evans AM, Chairman of the Online Crime Working Group, is available for interview – see contact details below.

Jeff Gardner, London Director at Victim Support and Supt Peter O’Doherty, City of London Police, are also available to interview at the launch event from 10am-11am today.

Hashtag for Twitter: #TighteningtheNet

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.