The Metropolitan Police Service becomes the latest force to roll out with Action Fraud to improve the way fraud is investigated.
Action Fraud has been accessible to the public, businesses and charities since its launch in October 2009, and now all police forces in England and Wales are changing to using Action Fraud as their central reporting channel rather than using separate force systems.
The roll out of Action Fraud to police forces commenced in November 2012, with the forces strategically staggered by region in order to accommodate demand and ensure a satisfactory experience for victims. Including the five pilot forces, a total of 36 forces are now ‘live’ with Action Fraud, with the remainder going ‘live’ by the end of March 2013.
Linking unrelated incidents
Having this central collection point for crime reports enables a much clearer national picture about fraud and fraudsters, and allows seemingly unrelated incidents from around the country to be linked through analysis, which assists in identifying networks of criminals.
When reporting a fraud to Action Fraud, the victim receives a national crime reference number and the case is referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) where it is analysed along with a wealth of additional information from government departments, financial institutions and other large organisations.
Example of efficient data matching
Two victims of online shopping fraud reported separately to Action Fraud in July 2012. Both the victims were given bank account details to send money to, and when these crimes were reviewed by the NFIB, the bank accounts revealed a suspect name which turned out to be the same person.
The crimes were sent to Merseyside Police to investigate. Merseyside investigated these crimes and the suspect was charged and convicted on five counts of Fraud by False Representation.
Quicker and more convenient for victims
Home Office Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: “Fraud is not a victimless crime. It significantly affects people’s lives so it is vital that we take action.“I am pleased that the Metropolitan Police are now going to start recording fraud using Action Fraud. This national service will not only improve our intelligence gathering capacity, but will also save forces time.”
Commander Steve Rodhouse said that joining Action Fraud will provide an enhanced service to victims of fraud. He said: "Action Fraud provides the public and businesses with just one point of reference, making the process much quicker and more convenient for victims than visiting their local police station. This system enables the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to enhance the fraud picture by providing a national overview of the latest trends; with the analysis of data also enabling the best quality ‘packages’ to be passed back to the Met for further investigation.”
Steve Proffitt, Head of Action Fraud “Action Fraud has now been operational for over three years, and in that time we have attracted over 1 million visitors to our website and helped over 300,000 people deal with the serious consequences of fraud and internet crime. As the one-stop-shop for advice and reporting of fraud and internet crime,
Action Fraud has taken over 126,000 crime reports on behalf of the police. Providing this central reporting hub enables crime data from across the country to be linked though analysis, with the output helping police to act on this intelligence and catch more fraudsters. It is important to report any experience of fraud or internet crime, as this can help other people from becoming victims themselves.”