Since 2008 we have been the national lead police force for fraud. This is a broad role that encompasses many aspects of the volume economic crime landscape, from investigating some of the country’s most complex frauds to hosting the National fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, Action Fraud.
Combatting economic crime through partnerships
Fraud and cybercrime are currently the most prevalent crimes encountered in the UK. To combat this problem, a partnership approach to managing economic crime has been developed, that includes industry, government, regulators, other law enforcement agencies and overseas organisations. In 2016 these entities were brought together under the umbrella of the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT). Alongside our role in the JFT, we have a number of innovative partnerships in place to police particular economic crimes or assist an organisation in meeting specific goals in the counter-fraud sphere:
The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), an innovative policing unit entirely funded by the insurance industry to combat insurance fraud.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is the Country’s only dedicated intellectual property crime unit, funded by direct grant from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a joint Metropolitan/City of London Police team, funded by the banking industry, with the sole purpose of combating crimes associated with banking and payments.
In 2018 we signed a three year sponsorship agreement with Lloyds Banking Group to deliver unique projects with the bank to counter economic crime.
These units and projects sit alongside and work closely with our specialist fraud teams. Also as part of our remit as the National lead force, we engage with police forces across the country to share best practice in fraud investigation and host the Economic Crime Academy, which provides training in counter-fraud and other economic crime techniques to both private and public sector organisations.
Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cybercrime reporting centre
Launched in 2005, Action Fraud is the only national crime reporting system in the UK. All frauds and a majority of cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are reported to Action Fraud. These reports are then analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), also hosted by City of London Police, and then either sent onto the police force where we believe the suspect resides, or retained within the NFIB to inform our disruption and warning activity. Action Fraud and the NFIB do not investigate fraud, the system constructs an intelligence picture and using state of the art technology to identify patterns in fraud reports, and either uses this information to prevent further frauds by requesting removal of enablers such as websites, phone lines and bank accounts, or provides police forces with the intelligence to investigate and enforce against criminals operating in their areas.
In 2018 significant investment by the Home Office and Corporation of London in the service lead to a comprehensive overhaul of the reporting facility, including the creation of a user-friendly reporting interface for businesses, that enables up to 1000 crimes to be reported in a bulk upload and an end-to-end ‘track my crime’ facility.
Alongside our fraud work, we also have responsibilities in the cybercrime environment, working with the NCA and the National Cyber Security Centre, to provide protection advice to businesses and individuals. Our response was first tested during the ‘Wanna Cry’ attack of May 2017, when we played an integral role, warning businesses how they could keep themselves safe. We continue to work alongside key partners to ensure both business and individuals in the UK, and locally in the City, have the tools and skills necessary to protect themselves from cybercrime in all its forms.
Police forces across the country have been cracking down on criminals who commit courier fraud, with a combination of awareness raising and enforcement activity co-ordinated by the City of London Police.
The culmination of the campaign was three weeks’ worth of operational activity across London, with 24 people arrested and 18 premises searched. These were joint operations between the City of London Police and Kent Police, West Mercia Police, Hertfordshire Police, Dorset Police and the DCPCU (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit).