Help me lobby the government to improve Action Fraud

I was extremely concerned to read reports in the media about Action Fraud.

Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud reporting service, overseen by the City of London Police, and victims of fraud across the country are told to log their cases with this service.  

An undercover investigation by The Times recently found evidence that call handlers working for the organisation were trained to mislead victims of fraud into thinking their cases would be investigated when they knew most would never be looked at again.

Worse, some managers were reported to have privately mocked people who lost money to fraudsters, calling them ‘morons’ and ‘screwballs’.

This was incredibly distressing, both to me, and to the many dedicated officers and staff in Dorset Police who work hard to combat this ever-growing problem.

However, it is far from the first complaint I’ve heard about them. As the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) former lead for fraud, I listened to many heartbreaking stories from people who had lost tens of thousands of pounds – their life savings – only to feel ignored by Action Fraud, while officers working in this area expressed their own frustrations.

Clearly, there’s something going badly wrong in the running of this organisation, and to my mind there has been for a long time.

Now, I plan to do something about it by lobbying government for urgent improvements – and I want your help in doing this.

I’ve created a survey to find out about Dorset residents’ experiences of Action Fraud, whether they were satisfied with the outcome and the service they received, and if not I want them to tell me what went wrong and what could have been done better.

 

cyber crime

This will give me a dossier of evidence I can take to ministers calling for improvements, rather than relying on anecdotal accounts.  

It’s vitally important we get this right. Nationally, fraud is a problem of epidemic proportions, accounting for more than a third of all crime across England and Wales last year.

The service itself is overseen by the City Of London Police, but most of the call handling is outsourced to a private company called Concentrix.

They conducted their own investigation following The Times’ report, and some staff members were suspended, but serious questions need to be asked about them – including whether an American company should even have been involved in this work at all.

Ultimately, like many aspects of policing, it comes down to funding. With fraud being such a huge and rapidly growing area, should the Home Office be putting more resources into the national response and keeping a closer eye on how it’s managed?

These are all questions that need looking at, but first I need your help in responding to my survey.

Remember, this isn’t about complaining to Dorset Police or getting your case investigated – I can’t do either of those things in this space. What I can do is listen and take this to the government so I can tell ministers: “This is how many members of the public in Dorset feel let down by Action Fraud, what are you going to do about it?”

I need to know what experiences you’ve had, both good and bad, so I can lobby the government and try to make this better for everyone.

Respond to the survey here.

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