West Yorkshire’s forgotten fraud victims

Conservatives have forgotten 14,000 fraud victims in West Yorkshire

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of forgetting victims of fraud in West Yorkshire after senior Conservative Ministers overlooked fraud and computer misuse offences when making false claims on falling crime.

Yorkshire Region Liberal Democrats have also called on the local Conservative MPs to publicly recognise the serious impact of online and doorstep scams and to apologise to the thousands of people in the area who fell victim to fraud last year.

There were 13,936 fraud and computer misuse offences referred to West Yorkshire Police last year – up 14.6% on the year before, analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals. This is the equivalent of 38 cases each day across West Yorkshire. These victims are part of the four million people across England and Wales who were duped by fraudsters and online scammers last year.

It comes after the UK Statistics Authority last week officially rebuked Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel for misleadingly claiming that crime had fallen, following a letter of complaint by Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng then claimed this weekend that fraud isn’t something people experience in their day-to-day lives.

Former West Yorkshire Mayoral candidate, and Leader of Leeds Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Stewart Golton said:  

“Conservative ministers attempting to cook the books to show that crime is going down by downplaying the impact of scamming are causing immense hurt to fraud victims in West Yorkshire by dismissing this cruel crime. Many people around here have lost their life savings to remorseless scammers and suffered huge financial and emotional harm.

“The 14,000 victims of fraud in West Yorkshire last year deserve a proper apology, not only from the Prime Minister himself, but from Conservative MPs here in West Yorkshire, who talk tough on crime, but have so far remained silent on this appalling attempt to dismiss fraud as a serious crime to justify their Leader’s own fraudulent crime statistics. This government has to start taking financial crime seriously.”