Fraud set to be tackled at a 'one-stop' centre
FRAUDSTERS will have nowhere to hide from today.
A new national "one-stop" centre has been set up to report all information about fraud and financially motivated crime.
Action Fraud, which starts work today, is run by the National Fraud Authority.
Victims of fraud and internet crime will now contact Action Fraud directly to report a fraud instead of contacting the police.
Non-emergency police call handlers who receive reports of fraud will direct callers to contact Action Fraud.
Police should still be called and will respond if the victim is in immediate danger, if there is a chance that the suspect could be caught immediately, or if the victim is vulnerable or at risk.
Police say fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.
"This new way of working means that all fraud reports are recorded securely and effectively analysed to help police tackle fraud nationally.
"Centralised intelligence enables seemingly unrelated incidents from around the country to be linked through analysis, helping to identify networks of criminals."
Once the information has been analysed and linked, The National Fraud Investigation Bureau will allocate crimes to the best-placed police force in the country to investigate it.
Until now individual police forces have had responsibility for investigating incidents of fraud as they are reported.
Victims will be able to use a national crime reference number to follow progress on their crime. If required, they will be referred to Victim Support.
The system has been piloted with five forces and is now being rolled out to all forces in England and Wales.
Detective Inspector Dave Dale, from the Serious Organised Crime Investigation Team, said: "This system will enable victims of fraud to speak to an expert at the Action Fraud call centre straight away and receive a more consistent service.
"Moving to a national approach is a more efficient way for the police to deal with the ever-increasing incidents of fraud.
"Fraud, by its nature, has no geographical boundaries. A person committing online fraud in Devon and Cornwall could have victims scattered all over the UK or even the world."
In Devon and Cornwall the change could free up 1,360 days of officer time over a year.
In the year to November 27 Devon and Cornwall Police investigated 2,292 offences of fraud and forgery.
Fraud costs the UK economy over £73billion a year. The main types of crimes reported are on-line shopping and auction site frauds.