Surrey PCC Response to HMICFRS report: ‘A Review of Fraud: Time to Choose’

Surrey PCC Response to HMICFRS report: ‘A Review of Fraud: Time to Choose’

Fraud and the impact on victims has been raised a number of times by residents since I took office and this report is timely as I finalise my Police and Crime Plan.   Surrey is one of the areas most affected by fraud.  I agree with HMICFRS that there needs to be more resources put into tackling this type of crime and better national co-ordination and tasking.  Locally Surrey Police is doing what it can with a specific operation to safeguard the vulnerable against fraud.  However, HMICFRS rightly highlights the difficulties faced by victims in accessing services and getting support. 

I have asked the Chief Constable for his response, particular in relation to the recommendations made in the report.  His response is as follows: 

I welcome the HMICFRS’s A review of Fraud – time to choose report and I am very pleased that the HMICFRS has acknowledged in the report the significant achievements the force has made by embedding Op Signature processes to identify vulnerability, and working with partner agencies to safeguard vulnerable fraud victims.  Notwithstanding this recognition of good practice, the force recognises the challenges highlighted by the HMICFRS in respect of improving communication with fraud victims, and following guidance about fraud-related Calls for Service. The force is focused on addressing these concerns in order to deliver the best possible service to the public.

This response covers the two recommendation areas relevant to Surrey Police.

Recommendation 1:  By 30 September 2021, Chief Constables should make sure that their forces are following the guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Economic Crime about fraud-related calls for service.

Surrey Position:

  • Initial Officer training including regular CPD inputs is provided to all Neighbourhood and Response officers, as well as investigators who interact with victims of fraud either from a safeguarding or investigative perspective. This includes call for service criteria and guidance issued by the NPCC.
  • Call handlers receive in person Action Fraud training during initial courses. Internal guidance documentation from the NPCC has also been provided to the Occurrence Management Unit for inclusion in the public contact guide to familiarise staff with the call for service criteria.  Action Fraud SPOCs dedicated to the role provide a checking mechanism to ensure the guidance is being followed.
  • Surrey Police host a comprehensive intranet site with a dedicated Action Fraud page, providing access to the guidance issued around call for service criteria and the process to follow. This includes processes around identifying vulnerability and the attendance / reporting requirements this necessitates.
  • Surrey Police host a comprehensive external website (Operation Signature) which links directly to the Action Fraud site where victims can understand the role of Action fraud and the parameters around call for service.
  • The Single Online Home website, also provides a link to Action Fraud which provides the necessary guidance. An enquiry was made to the National Team responsible for the content, to consider adding the specific guidance onto this page, but the link to Action Fraud was deemed to be sufficient.

Recommendation 3:  By 31 October 2021, Chief Constables should adopt the guidance issued in September 2019 by the National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Economic Crime that was aimed at improving the information given to victims when reporting fraud.

Surrey Position:

  • Surrey Police host a comprehensive external website which links directly to the Action Fraud site where victims can understand the role of Action Fraud and the guidance around reporting
  • Under the Volunteer Fraud Prevention Programme, all victims not deemed as vulnerable and otherwise receiving a police intervention, receive a personalised letter or email from Surrey Police, shortly after reporting to Action Fraud, which provides victims with access to the guidance around reporting and what to expect going forward with their report.

  • Caseworkers have been provided with training and the guidance document to share this information with the vulnerable victims they support throughout the victim journey, whether the case is progressed or not.

  • Initial Officer training including regular CPD inputs have been provided to all Neighbourhood and Response officers, as well as investigators who interact with victims of fraud either from a safeguarding or investigative perspective.

  • Call handlers receive in person Action Fraud training during initial courses. Internal guidance documentation provided to the Occurrence Management Unit public contact guide familiarises staff with the information they should be providing to victims reporting fraud at first point of contact.

  • Surrey Police host a comprehensive intranet site with a dedicated Action Fraud page, providing access to the guidance for victims when reporting fraud.

  • Single Online Home website, provides a link to Action Fraud which provides the necessary guidance. Again an enquiry was made to the National team responsible for the content, to consider adding the specific guidance onto this page, but the link to Action Fraud was deemed to be sufficient.

I am satisfied that Surrey Police is addressing what it can in relation to fraud with the resources available.  I will be including fraud in my Police and Crime Plan as an area of focus and will be looking at support available to victims.   As the perpetrators of these offences know no international or national boundaries, the need is for national co-ordination and better investment in national support through Action Fraud.

Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
September 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By |2021-09-30T14:19:56+01:00September 30th, 2021|HMIC Responses, HMIC Responses Archive|Comments Off on Surrey PCC Response to HMICFRS report: ‘A Review of Fraud: Time to Choose’