Labour Party conference: Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper reveals plan for new ‘identity theft’ criminal offence

 

A new criminal offence of identity theft would be created by Labour in an effort to combat the dramatic rise in online fraud, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper will announce today.

She will also call for tougher sentences for gangs behind cyber-crime, which last year claimed more than 12 million victims in Britain. Ms Cooper will tell the Labour conference: “The problem is escalating by the day. The police don’t have the skills, the equipment or the structures to cope.”

She will argue that the law has failed to keep pace with the rapid switch by fraudsters to online crime, leading to confusion over which charge to bring against culprits. Labour would fill the gap by drawing up an offence of identity theft, Ms Cooper will promise.

She will accuse Theresa May, the Home Secretary, of complacency over the issue and urge the Government to instruct the Sentencing Council to review the sentencing guidelines for e-crime. Her intervention follows a Commons Home Affairs Select Committee report which raised fears that sentences for identity theft were too lenient. It pointed to the 18-month and seven-month prison sentences handed to two hackers who cost Paypal more than £3.5m, suggesting they would have been jailed for longer if they had physically robbed a bank.

Ms Cooper will commit Labour to establishing an industry-backed body to combat online fraud. It would be modelled on the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which monitors the net for images of child sex abuse.

Peter Neyroud, a former Chief Constable who is a member of the IWF board, has been appointed by Labour to draw up plans for the watchdog.

Ms Cooper will say: “We live our lives online now, but criminals know that too. It’s a big risk for business – online trade should be a big area for economic growth – and it’s a big cost for all of us. When the credit card companies and banks write off so much fraud we all lose out from higher charges.”

She will say: “Families are already facing pressure and they will have to pay an ever higher price. It’s time the Government moved into the 21st Century and started to act.”

Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary, will today condemn the Government’s “reckless” plans to hand much of the work of the National Probation Service to private companies. He will claim that public safety will be put at risk by the move.

Mr Khan will say Labour’s priority would be to stop victims being treated like criminals, citing the example of the 13-year-old sex abuse victim described by a judge as “predatory”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test