Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Every fraud victim in Herts contacted and offered support and advice
Every fraud victim in county is now being contacted by Hertfordshire Police and offered support and advice.
Residents and businesses who have had money stolen by deception are being telephoned and written to, in the first enhanced scheme of its type for victims in England and Wales.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has funded the Beacon Fraud Hub project which has recruited four specialist members of staff to help tackle one of the highest crimes in the county.

Launching the initiative Mr Lloyd said: “Fraud is the crime that you are most likely to fall victim to in Hertfordshire. Almost everyone has experience of being contacted by phone or email by someone trying to scam them out of money.

“Everyone is a potential target, but sadly it is often the elderly and most vulnerable that hand over money to these very convincing and sophisticated criminals.

“We need to take this threat seriously and do everything we can to prevent individuals and business becoming victims. That is why I have decided to fund this project, the first of its kind, to contact everyone who reports one of these crimes.

   Mr Lloyd with Beacon Fraud hub workers Elaine, Clive and Jamie

“The aim is to support the victims, help them try and get the money back or get compensation, while preventing them falling for similar frauds again.”
Paid for through a £150,000 Ministry of Justice grant, the new workers are based at the Beacon Victim Care Centre, in Welwyn Garden City. It includes professionals from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Victim Service Team and Catch 22, the charity running Victim Care on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Each month the Fraud Hub are sent a list of every Hertfordshire resident who has reported a loss to Action Fraud, the national Police reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Around 600 people a month in the county report being scammed including losing money through a trusted person, dodgy investments, pension theft, romance fraud, internet hacking or bogus telephone calls or letters.

Techniques of the defrauders include pretending to be a victim’s bank, HM Revenue and Customs, internet providers and also the police.

During the visit Mr Lloyd met three of the new fraud specialists, police workers Elaine Crate, Jamie Cosnett plus Catch22’s Clive Reader.

Describing her work Elaine told Mr Lloyd: “I have contacted hundreds of fraud victims already, they are grateful for the support as some were still feeling vulnerable and scared.

“They may have been put on the fraudsters’ ‘suckers list’ which means they will be targeted again and again. We can give them practical advice and send out information packs so they know what to look out for. “It can be a devastating crime, some have lost six-figure sums and are suicidal, but even for those that have lost a few hundred pounds can be severely affected by the impact of the crime."

“We need to get the message out there that callers will pretend to be the police or even bank staff, with convincing stories, asking for your card or account details. They may also be doorstep callers offering to do unnecessary work.” 

The case workers from Catch22 are there for the intimidated and vulnerable victims and those that need extra support and assistance. They can put in place complete care plans to provide the maximum amount of assistance.
 
Background – The scale of fraud
 
National picture – The inclusion of fraud and cyber-crime in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) from October 2015 altered the picture of crime. Results show that fraud and cyber-crime are almost equivalent to the volume of all other crime (4.6m offences). Fraud alone accounted for 31% of CSEW crime.
 
Beacon - The Beacon team will contact all victims of crime and, where appropriate, work with specialist case managers to provide a complete wrap-around service to help victims to cope and recover.

The team has direct access to Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust Single Point of Access team (Mental Health services), Hertfordshire County Council Social Care Access Team and Hertfordshire Home Security Service to ensure that they can provide assistance quickly and seamlessly. 

Hertfordshire Beacon is staffed by Victim Service Team each day 8am – 8pm, in addition, Catch22 employees work Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm & Saturday 9am – 5pm. By phone: 0300 011 55 55 by email beacconvictimcare@herts.pnn.police.uk or info@hertfordshirebeacon.org