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“What’s going on ‘ere, then?”: an empirical exploration of the anatomy of rogue trading incidents

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

This research uses a mixed methods Applied Thematic Analysis to investigate the ‘anatomy’ of rogue trading using records from the Thames Valley Police’s crime recording database, from 2013. One of few empirical studies into the phenomenon, this thesis situates the crime within the broader academic framework of white-collar crime, critically exploring whether the concept provides an adequate framework, and examining why it has been underexplored given the backdrop provided by extant literature which identifies the involvement of professional, organised criminals, and the victimisation of vulnerable individuals. Building on the author’s previous work (Day, 2015), this study investigates difficulties regarding the definition, recording and retrieval of rogue trading incidents, using distraction burglary (a similar offence in terms of offender and victim profiles) as a comparator. It also critically examines what police records reveal about the victimology and modus operandi of the crime type, and the police response it receives. This research finds that rogue trading is more financially damaging and prevalent than distraction burglary, and that an overlap exists between the two offences. It discovers that the majority of victims are categorised by police as vulnerable, and that financial losses are generally greater where vulnerable victims are involved. Service provision to victims is generally poor, with joint-working between police and Care Services inconsistent, and the installation of CCTV and use of statutory special measures particularly rare. Further, the findings depict a fluid and varied modus operandi commonly involving the carrying out of work (most frequently roofing) at victim’s properties and the repeated targeting of victims, sometimes transporting them to financial institutions to facilitate immediate financial gain This study also shows the response the police give to rogue trading to be routinely poor. This includes an almost complete absence of consideration of legislation introduced specifically to combat rogue trading, a wider failure to consider more mainstream offences such as theft and fraud, non-compliance with Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) and National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS), and a frequent failure to assess the work carried out by suspects. This research suggests the current situation is inadequate from an investigative, enforcement and safeguarding perspective and that unless there are significant changes to the way the police deal with and record rogue trading, this is unlikely to improve. Finally, the study suggests that white-collar crime no longer provides an appropriate lens through which to view rogue trading and that contemporary fraud studies may provide a more suitable academic framework.
Original languageEnglish
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    Award dateJul 2019

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