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Written Statement - Establishing a Wales Business Crime Unit

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Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

 

I have approved a course of action to establish a Wales Business Crime Unit as set out in the Programme for Government.

The role of the Welsh Government will be to provide overall leadership for raising awareness of business crime and its economic impact, with an objective to equip Welsh businesses with the knowledge and tools to be aware, vigilant and ultimately protect themselves from crime. This will be achieved through online tools and guides and building lessons learned into BETS business support activities and seminars. I will also work to ensure that Police forces in Wales are aware of significant business crime issues, both on an all Wales basis and at a local level, and are therefore able to take further steps to help protect business.

Significant proportions of business crimes are e-Crime and as businesses continue to embrace the benefits of ICT and we move to a more digital economy the potential impact of e-Crime on business is increasing. As such, I will establish a management unit within the BETS ICT Sector team and will link the Business Crime Unit to the Welsh ICT Sector strategy. The Unit will deliver a programme of actions to both protect and educate businesses across all sectors in business crime prevention and cyber-security, and provide an opportunity for businesses in the ICT Sector to add to their portfolio of services.

I will establish a Business Crime stakeholder/industry panel of experts with representatives from business (potential victims and responders), Police and Government to act as a multi-agency engagement, advice and support group steering the development and implementation of the Business Crime Unit.

Clearly the prevention of Business Crime and the prosecution of those perpetrating crimes against business is a matter for the Police and therefore the unit will work closely with the Police in delivering these activities. As part of the scoping work for delivering this commitment my officials explored with the Police the potential to provide additional funding to cover the cost of a small number of warranted officers specifically targeted at business crime.  While the  police are supportive of the proposals to establish a Business Crime Unit  they  cannot commit to specific targeting of resources in this way due to pressures on their own budgets and their need to manage and deploy police resources across a range of priorities.