New crackdown on fraud is launched

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 02 January 2013 Updated: 03/01 14:10

POLICE will no longer deal directly with reports of bogus scams and minor types of fraud as part of a new way of tackling the growing problem.

West Mercia and Warwickshire Police have signed up to the national Action Fraud scheme - the UK's central reporting centre - which aims to better collect information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.

Instead of local officers dealing with reports of fake lottery scams and bogus websites, when people contact police they will be directed to Action Fraud where details can be taken over the phone or online. Where a crime has taken place it will be recorded and the victim given a national crime reference number.

In serious fraud cases where the victim is reporting a crime in action or the caller assessed to be vulnerable, reports will be dealt with as normal.

Every day, details of all recorded crimes will be transferred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), run by the City of London Police, where the information will be collated and analysed to identify any feasible lines of enquiry and information sent to the relevant force for further action.

Fraud is a growing problem nationally and in West Mercia with 2,715 offences reported in 2011/12, up seven per cent on the year before.

But it is believed the problem may be hugely under reported. It is hoped the new way of working will lead to joined-up intelligence so enforcement action can be more targeted and provide more opportunities to prevent fraud nationally.

It will also free up officers time to focus on investigations with a realistic prospect of a result as well as trying to prevent scams, rip-offs and cons from happening.

Det Insp Mark Glazzard, who leads the economic crime unit for West Mercia and Warwickshire, said: "We are seeing a growth in all sorts of fraud, from fairly basic, unsophisticated scams such as bogus websites to highly organised criminal gangs targeting vulnerable people.

"However, we believe we only see the tip of the iceberg and a lot of fraud goes unreported – something which we hope may change with the launch of Action Fraud. As well as looking for potential investigative leads, Action Fraud will act as a central intelligence unit, pulling together all reports of fraud aimed at identifying and disrupting organised crime teams."

Action Fraud can be contacted by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday to Sunday.

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