£3m recovered for victims of fraud with help of specialist team
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Fraud victims have recovered more than £3 million thanks to a specialist team set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd.
The award-winning Beacon Fraud Hub is run by Hertfordshire’s Victim Care Centre which is staffed by professionals from the Constabulary’s Victim Service Team and Catch22, an independent organisation commissioned to support victims.
The Fraud Hub aims to contact everyone in the county who reports to the police or Action Fraud having been defrauded. The Fraud Hub develops an action plan for victims which includes, where necessary, liaising with agencies on their behalf; conducting a needs assessment; providing practical support and measures for target hardening.
Though not set-up to investigate the crime or recover lost funds, they have been able to help victims retrieve £3m in stolen money through effective advocacy with financial institutions and advising on the use of the banking protocol procedure.
The unit, based at the Beacon victim care centre, at Police Headquarters, in Welwyn Garden City, was set up by Mr Lloyd in April 2019.
Mr Lloyd said: “The Beacon Fraud Hub do a fantastic job for the people of Hertfordshire, and we are one of the few places in country to run such a project. Fraud is the most prevalent crime across the county and one the public have a high degree of concern about.
“This is one of the ways in which we are helping to minimise the impact of the crime emotionally and financially, while also protecting those affected against repeat victimisation.
“We originally invested £198,000, mainly from government funds, in setting up the Beacon Fraud Hub and it been repaying dividends ever since by helping those who have lost money to get it back.”
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “This is a great result for both the team and the victims who have had their money recovered. £3 million is a significant amount of money and its recovery will have been some recompense to the victims of heartless fraudsters. What’s more we’re keeping at it, so this figure is only going to grow.”
Previously the Fraud Hub, which has four dedicated members of staff, has won the Outstanding Customer Service Initiative category of national Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs). It was also hailed as the ‘gold standard’ of victim support at a College of Policing fraud conference.
Every month a list of around 650 Hertfordshire fraud victims is sent to the Hub. The list comes from those who have reported a crime to Action Fraud, via City of London police which leads nationally on tackling and investigating the crime.
The Beacon Fraud Hub has established a Multi Agency Fraud Forum where specialist organisations work together to protect the most vulnerable victims. This collaboration has been shortlisted for an ‘Outstanding Partnership’ award at this year’s Tackling Economic Crime Awards.