Would you or wouldn’t you?

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    Nice little old lady (85) tucked up in her property without a care in the world.

    Why would she have a care? She lives in a council property in a beautiful part of the country, she gets full housing and council tax benefit and oh, by the way, she also has £41 grand to her name as well.

    Now funnily enough she won’t talk to us, provide us with any information or even sign disclosure forms allowing us to make enquiries (thank god for SSFA eh!)

    I’ve read my prosecution policy, I’ve looked at the guidelines on the CPS website regarding the test of public interest but even so, I still have a nagging doubt in the back of my mind regarding what course of action to take.

    With these circumstances and a £12 grand overpayment, what would you do?


    This issue of dealing with pensioners has been dealt with in various forums. The bottom line is do you believe an offence has been committed, has she failed to notify of a change of circumstances? Has she witheld info on a claim form?

    We would invite for IUC if she fails to attend then pass to legal, and see if they will summons. Incidently is she on Pension Credit?


    Got to say I wouldn’t go anywhere near sanction action on this case. The potential for you to appear to be wasting Council time, being vindictive and “not chasing the real criminals” is huge. With the overpayment expected, Prosecution would be only option, as what would be point of cautioning / adpen an 85 year old. I know she was probably being fraudulent when she started the offence, but consideration should be made of her condition now. The publicity you obtain could be more negative than positive, and what would the sentence be. That is if you manage to IUC her anyway. saying that I did manage to prosecute an 85 year old before, but he was working full time as a security guard, therefore viewed as fit and healthy enough to be interviewed and summonsed. I would guess he was the exception rather than the rule, and a lot of people would view a normal 85 year olds as not suitable to be taken to court. at the end of the day IUC’s and court action are traumatic experiences for vulnerable people. I’ve interviewed fitter and younger people in the past, and still be accused by family members of causing deterioation in health.
    Then again it would still be £3200 in the coffers.


    i THINK i’M WITH sTEVE ON THIS ONE. (SORRY FOR CAPS!) . Our pros policy does not mention age, however, I do not think it would pass our solicitors’in the public interesrt’ test. We had a similiar case with a 79 yr old who would not talk to us, and we ended up just cancelling benefit and creating an op.
    I think you potentially have much more to lose than what you would gain in a case like this.

    Chris Cook

    As an authority we have prosecuted a number of pensioners, oldest 80 years old so far.
    I would suggest that you conduct your investigation as per normal, pass to legal dept and let them do some work for their money in interpreting your prosecution policy. The investigation process should not change just because they are old.
    Our job is to investigate allegations of fraud & collect evidence.
    Decisions to prosecute/sanction belong elsewhere otherwise you become judge/jury.

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