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A critique of the counter economic crime regime in the United Kingdom, with reference to the United States of America and Australia

Palmer, Axel


Axel Palmer


Economic crime is an important feature of the United Kingdom’s economy and yet it attracts less attention from the media, government and law enforcement agencies than violent crime, even though it is a major drain on the economy, it threatens the reputation of corporations and it poses a threat to national security.
This thesis considers the economic crime components – fraud, bribery and corruption, and financial regulation, taking as the starting position the UK government’s analysis of the prosecution of fraud and regulation of financial services in the 1980’s. In strident terms, these were criticised for an ineffective approach towards the prosecution of fraud and the lack of an adequate system of financial regulation. This thesis critiques the development of government policy, legislation and anti-economic crime institutions over the succeeding 35 years by examining the field of economic crime as a whole, rather than as traditionally looking individually at its component parts. This approach is placed in sharp relief by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent revelations of conspiracies and fraud and the differencing approaches of separate institutions which serve to emphasise the lack of a cohesive approach.
Economic crime is a global phenomenon and although the UK, geographically, is an island in economic terms it is linked to other countries which have to face the same issues. This presented the research opportunity to consider how two other countries, the United States of America and Australia, coped with the 2008 economic crisis and its aftermath and whether an analysis of their approaches would provide a beneficial template for the UK to adopt.
The conclusion of this thesis is that the Coalition government was correct in its ideal to hold those suspected of financial wrongdoing to account in a day of reckoning, but that this was doomed to failure because the anti-economic crime forces are competitors rather than colleagues. This thesis proposes creation of a cohesive and effective anti-economic crime policy and creation of a single Economic Crime Agency, to encompass existing agencies to remove areas of overlap and underlap and enabling the single agency to deploy criminal and regulatory powers and sanctions.


Palmer, A. A critique of the counter economic crime regime in the United Kingdom, with reference to the United States of America and Australia. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords fraud, bribery, corruption, regulation, UK, USA, Australia, serious fraud office, financial conduct authority, economic crime


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