Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Met ticket fraud report finally appears

A couple of weeks ago the Mirror suggested the government was sitting on a report from Operation Podium for dubious reasons:

Last month we revealed that Operation Podium, which was set up to stop ticket touts disrupting the Olympic Games, has warned of a "policing void" when it is shut down.

MP Sharon Hodgson, who has been campaigning for new legislation to regulate and tackle touting, asked the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to put copies of reports they had received from Operation Podium in the House of Commons Library.

But Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and Home Office Minister James ­Brokenshire told her the documents "contain sensitive information which cannot be published".

Which is strange, because the one we wrote about states it is "not protectively marked" and is suitable for publication.
Well, the report - or parts of it - has now been published.

It's worth remembering as you read the details that Operation Podium's main remit was to police Olympic ticket fraud, and is about to be wound down. So a conclusion that ticket fraud is rife, and something must be done could have an element of job creation involved.

Still, here's what the Met team say:
Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, who leads Operation Podium, said: "Experience shows that fraud is the most prevalent form of ticket crime and causes the greatest harm - conservatively estimated at £40 million per year. Criminals involved in this are also highly likely to be involved in other crimes.

"We also know that it is extremely under reported, and there is a lack of public awareness and understanding which means that people find it difficult to distinguish between an authorised, unauthorised or fraudulent websites. For these reasons it is important that ticket crime is properly tackled and the awareness is raised on how the public can take steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim of these crimes."
I'm a bit lost as to what other forms of ticket crime - beyond fraud - there is. That time the people rolled an Anfield post box round and round to get Cup Final tickets out the slot?

I'm not totally sure I buy the idea that ticket fraud costs £40m a year, either. It's hard to put a figure on these things, but Retail Research suggested that all credit card fraud across all retail sectors in 2011 amounted to £120million; it seems unlikely that ticket fraud occurs often enough to reach one-third the level of every dodgy Switch and Visa transaction in a UK shop.