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PUBLICATION EMBARGOED TO 0001 2 APRIL 2019 - New national report praises Sussex Police project to protect vulnerable fraud victims

News   •   Apr 01, 2019 17:20 BST


                        PUBLICATION EMBARGOED TO 0001 HOURS, TUESDAY 2 APRIL 2019

A new national report on fraud investigation praises a Sussex Police project which supports vulnerable victims

The Report, 'Fraud; Time To Choose', published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on Tuesday (2 April) examines the national police response to fraud.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson of the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit said; "We welcome the Report's praise for Sussex Police's Operation Signature as a good example of law enforcement agencies in identifying and responding to vulnerability.

"As the report says, Operation Signature has been developed by the force as a means of providing additional support to victims of fraud and is designed to prevent the most vulnerable from becoming subject to repeat targeting."

The Operation Signature work focuses on the protection of the vulnerable members of our communities in Sussex, preventing them from becoming victims of such fraud and subject to further financial loss.

We have a process for recognising victims of all fraud as victims of crime and providing preventative measures to support and protect them from further targeting. This can include:

  • helping them to change their phone number to an ex-directory number
  • family to suggest power of attorney
  • mail re-direction
  • offering them advice on call blocking devices
  • referring them to other support services

The Report also praises the work done by the force with the support of Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, who has funded two fraud Victim Support Case Workers.

Katy Bourne said; "Over the past four years, my office has worked closely with the force’s financial safeguarding team to help raise awareness of fraud. Our Sussex Elder’s Commission members spoke to thousands of older residents to highlight the threat of telephone and cyber-enabled fraud, and they helped persuade many people to take extra precautions, including installing call blockers which I was very happy to fund.

“Since 2016, I have also funded - through Victim Support - two fraud case workers who provide help for medium and high risk victims and prevent them from being retargeted. I am particularly pleased that the implementation of the Banking Protocol in Sussex has prevented local people losing millions to fraudsters.

“The Time to Choose” report calls for a more coherent and consistent approach to fraud by local forces and national bodies and I agree it is time to co-ordinate our collective responses.”

See further information about Operation Signature here and here

Newsdesk Guidance; For information about the HMICFRS report, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted between 8:30am – 5:00pm on 0203 513 0600. Their out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729. See pages 91/92 of the report for references to Operation Signature.

Ref: SXP-54438/2019
Author: Tim Mahony