Thames Valley & Hampshire: Fraud Reporting

3 December 2012, 10:42 | Updated: 3 December 2012, 10:52

A new way to report fraud has started in the Thames Valley and Hampshire today.

It's as a national scheme is introduced which changes the way fraud is reported and dealt with across the country.

Action Fraud, which has been introduced as part of the Attorney General's Fraud Review in 2006 and as part of the Cyber Crime Strategy presented to parliament last year, will see all fraud recorded centrally.

Set up and run by the National Fraud Authority, Action Fraud is a one-stop reporting centre which will, by March 2013, handle all reports of fraud from throughout the UK.

From today, anyone in the Thames Valley and Hampshire who wants to report a fraud will need to contact Action Fraud. Instead of local forces taking reports, people will be asked to report the crime to Action Fraud, either by phone or via a specific website where, if a crime is established, they will be provided with a national crime reference number.

Action Fraud has already started taking reports, and of the thousands they have received, about 15% actually result in a fraud crime being recorded. However, all information gathered is provided daily to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) at the City of London Police where it is analysed, alongside other information reported from government departments, financial institutions, and other large organisations.

The NFIB will then send any crimes where there is actionable intelligence or viable lines of enquiry to individual forces to investigate. It will be decided which force will be investigating by:
- Where the fraud was committed
- The area containing the biggest number of offences / victims
- Where the first offence occurred
- Where the victim lives / works

It's hoped the new system will be able to free up police officers time, provide intelligence that can be used for preventative work; and by creating a standardised reporting system will ensure forces have a greater understanding and awareness of national threats.

The only exception to the new national process will be 'crimes in action', which means a fraud crime is taking place with an offender either at or near the scene at the time of the call to the police. Police will continue to deal with this as usual.

It's hoped the recording of all fraud crimes centrally will also lead to more intelligence being gathered about fraud crimes and trends and lead to these being joined up, resulting in more targeted enforcement action. Action Fraud will also lead to an enhanced preventative approach nationally.