Cops give fraudsters a free pass in Canterbury

The Police already pretty much give fraudsters a free pass, often telling complainants that the issue is a “civil matter”.

They have almost zero interest in fraud unless it is massive, and even then are woefully under-skilled to even deal with it.

But to remove the fraud squad entirely is bizarre.

Police plan to scrap the specialist squad that investigates fraud in Christchurch, despite an increase in white-collar crime post-quake.

The Police Association says the proposed move is a major blow to the public who will shy away from reporting dodgy dealings because “there will be no one to report it to”.

Canterbury district crime manager Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said the changes being considered would “ensure we are delivering the best service to victims of fraud”.

Police planned to merge the fraud squad, a detective sergeant and five staff, with the metro crime squad, which has 50 investigators.

“This proposed change would see fraud prioritised and investigated alongside other crime types,” Fitzgerald said. ?

“The Canterbury fraud squad has done an excellent job of dealing with fraud complaints. However, the CIB leadership team believes that the capacity available to the metro crime squad will result in efficiencies in investigation times and allocation of resources.”

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said he believed the move was fuelled by tighter budget constraints, which had forced police to focus resources on more serious crime.

As a result, private security firms would receive a lot more fraud-related work from victims who could afford it, O’Connor said.

“Everybody in police knows full well that unless you have specialist fraud investigators then fraud generally doesn’t get investigated.

“It’ll be good for the stats because there will be no-one to report [fraud] to so no-one will report it.”

Ratbags will rejoice. White collar crime will go unreported and unchallenged unless seriously over the top.

The number of emails I get from people telling me the Police told them it was a civil matter is astonishing. Fraud is a crime, it is covered by the crimes act, and it often leaves many more victims in a precarious position for longer than random acts of violence. Some fraudsters even come back for a second or third go.


– Fairfax