The City of London Police’s financial investigations unit is planning to advertise for a law firm or an asset tracing agency to help victims of fraud recover their stolen assets on a contingency fee basis, the Gazette has learned.

Unit head Detective Inspector Craig Mullish said the unit has identified two or three suitable cases. At present ‘only about 20% of [fraud] cases are prosecuted successfully, leaving a fair percentage of victims who aren’t getting as good a service as they should’, he said. ‘But, for many, their priority is to get their money back and that comes above a prosecution, particularly if they have lost their life savings.’

Mullish has been working with a group of law firms, investigators and other enforcement agencies on a pilot scheme to see if they can steer victims towards the civil recovery process.

Once police have made the introductions, the contract will be between the victims and firm, on the basis of a contingency fee of up to 30% of the assets recovered.

If successful, the pilot scheme could lead to the police force working with a panel of external firms.

Advertisements for the initial participants will be published following the final sign-off of the pilot.