Yesterday Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), published their latest review into police handling of fraud, having made 16 recommendations for improvement in their earlier 2019 inspection.
The report shows that despite fraud being the crime which will affect the most people, victims are “still receiving a poor service from the police and are denied justice” with fraud too often treated “as a low priority or victimless crime”.
Inspector Matt Parr said in the report: ”The scale of fraud has not diminished – in fact it has increased during the pandemic – and it needs to become more of a priority for police forces.”
In Sussex, the force set up Operation Signature to combat fraud and scams with a particular focus on protecting the more vulnerable and elderly. My office funds two Victim Support Fraud Case Workers who have been very successful in preventing victims being re-targeted and helping them change banking details for example.
Unfortunately, fraudsters are getting more sophisticated and a succession of lockdowns and vulnerable people shielding in isolation have provided more potential targets.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne OBE, takes up the story:
"My focus groups and community consultations are picking up that families are fearful for their elderly relatives. However, with younger people living increasingly digital lives they are at greater risk from cyber-crime and fraud despite their comfort with technology platforms and social media.
"Sussex Police is determined to make our roads safer and this week the force released details of 12 of the 26 people who have so far been convicted of drink and drug driving out of 279 arrested in mid-June to mid-July. Police made 79 of those arrests during their intervention at an unauthorised rave on the South Downs near Steyning in late June.
"Operation Dragonfly runs alongside the year-round policing of our roads network which has seen some dangerous and utterly irresponsible drivers during and after lockdown, including one person in court this week for reaching speeds of 200mph.
"There was a huge outpouring of public anger recently over a lorry driver seen on his own cab camera texting on 42 separate occasions and driving with no hands on the wheel before ploughing his truck into a broken-down van and other vehicles, causing serious injuries.
"My postbag is full of furious residents who want to see thoughtless and selfish drivers face the harshest possible sanctions and I wholeheartedly agree with them. I met members of the Roads Policing Unit at HQ this week and it was reassuring to hear how focused and committed they are to take dangerous and drink and drug drivers off our roads."