THE four police forces in the West Midlands region are joining a national scheme aimed at helping to tackle fraud, including internet related scams.
West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, along with Staffordshire and West Midlands, have signed up to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, which acts as a central point of contact for all information about fraud and financially-motivated internet crime.
Individual police forces will continue to take reports of serious fraud and deal with cases where a crime in action or where the victim is particularly vulnerable.
Nationally, the National Fraud Authority estimates the loss to the UK economy from fraud is £73 billion. In the 2011/12 financial year, 2,715 fraud and forgery offences were recorded in the West Mercia policing area, a rise of seven per cent on the previous year. However, officers believe offences may be hugely under reported.
From now, instead of local officers taking crime reports of fraud themselves, they will redirect victims to Action Fraud where staff will take details over the phone or online.
Where a crime has taken place, it will be recorded and the victim given a national crime reference number.
Every day, details of all recorded crimes will be transferred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), run by City of London Police. There, all crimes and information reports will be collated and analysed to assess if there are any feasible lines of enquiry.
Run by the National Fraud Authority, with the NFIB as its partner, Action Fraud will provide numerous benefits and free up officers’ time to focus only on actionable investigations, provide intelligence that can be used for preventative work, and create a standardised reporting system to ensure forces have a greater understanding and awareness of national threats.
Action Fraud can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.