Coming together to fight fraud
Fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK costing the country many billions of pounds every year.
Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest that fraud has risen by 25% in the past two years, with 4.5 million offences in England and Wales.
In response to this worrying rise, Fraud Protect Practitioners from across the UK came together in Bristol for the annual Fraud Safeguarding Conference on 20 and 21 September 2022.
Hosted by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) and Avon and Somerset Police, the Conference was attended by representatives from 38 police forces, eight partner agencies and four Regional Organised Crime Units.
DI Marc Milliner from SW ROCU, said: “Opportunities like this to come together mean that we can share the many ways in which fraud affects our communities and progress as one team with a common goal – to safeguard the elderly and vulnerable from this devastating crime, which can have a huge psychological as well as financial impact upon its victims.”
Delegates were able to come together to develop fraud safeguarding practices and to share knowledge and advice. They also heard from speakers on a range of topics from the psychology of online crime and the impact of cryptocurrency on financial investigation, to fraud prevention initiatives taking place nationwide.
“Factors such as the pandemic, pressures on the NHS, social divide and greater reliance on technology have created a perfect storm for a rise in fraud and an increased risk to the vulnerable and isolated.
“With fraud hugely underreported it’s more important than ever for law enforcement and organisations to better equip themselves to fight this rising crime,” added Marc.
The next conference will take place in September 2023 and will be hosted by Thames Valley Police.