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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

UK government publishes Strategic Policing Requirement 2023

UK government publishes Strategic Policing Requirement 2023


Policy paper includes an updated enhanced serious and organised crime section

The Home Office published its latest Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) for 2023 on 20 February, which sets out the Home Secretary’s view of the current national threats to the UK and the national policing capabilities needed to counter those threats.

The latest version of the policy paper includes violence against women and girls as a national threat for the first time. The government’s expectations for local and regional police forces in regard to their capabilities to combat violence against women and girls are also set out in the policy paper.

Additional changes to the SPR, which was last updated in 2015, include an enhanced serious and organised crime section to reiterate the importance of crime types such as fraud and organised immigration crime, strengthened governance and assurance arrangements, and a more detailed description of how national threats should be dealt with by police forces.   

The SPR states that fraud is the most common crime type accounting for 41% of all criminal offences in England and Wales and that it is expected to rise even further during the period of economic uncertainty and high cost of living. In 2015/16, fraud cost individuals £4.7bn a year, according to The Economic and Social Costs of Crime 2018. The SPR also draws attention to the fact that criminal proceeds obtained through fraud often fund organised crime, terrorism and human trafficking.

In terms of policing capabilities, the policy paper states that a fraud supplement will be produced, which will provide greater detail for police forces on what is expected regarding the response to fraud. More specifically, the threat from Western Balkans organised crime gangs is cited as needing specific local and regional intelligence collection to feed into the national threat assessment, to support more targeted disruptions.

Commenting on the latest SPR, Alun Milford, Partner in the Criminal Litigation team at Kingsley Napley, said: “Victims will welcome the identification of fraud as a threat requiring action by all police forces, including the requirement to have in place the capability to act on reports of fraud including criminal investigations. This could signal a first step towards a renewed emphasis on deterrence in the counter-fraud landscape, but we will know more when the new national Fraud Strategy is revealed.”