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Hertfordshire’s victims of fraud hub extended after pilot

Hertfordshire’s PCC David Lloyd has extended the initiative following a successful pilot.

The Beacon Fraud Hub, created by PCC David Lloyd will now run for a second year following a £128,000 pilot.

It comes under the force’s Beacon team which contacts all victims of crime aiming to provide a wrap-around service where appropriate.

The fraud unit has four members of staff with specialist knowledge who will contact every person within the county who reports having money fraudulently taken.

It is not designed to investigate the crime or recover funds but the specialists can help develop an action plan for victims, including liaising with agencies on their behalf, conducting a needs assessment and providing measures for target hardening.

Created in April last year, during the first six months of the programme the hub helped more than 3,500 fraud victims.

Every week around 650 Hertfordshire victims are referred to the Beacon after having reported the crime to the Action Fraud organisation.

On one occasion, the anti-fraud team helped one resident recover £23,000 after the advisors helped her contact her bank and explained what regulations to rely on.

Mr Lloyd said: “As fraud is the crime that you are most likely to fall victim to in Hertfordshire, I wanted to make sure we are doing everything possible to prevent people becoming repeat victims and give them the upmost support.

“Everyone has experience of being contacted by phone or email by someone trying to scam them out of money.  Sadly it is often the elderly and most vulnerable that hand over money to these very convincing and sophisticated criminals.

“That is why I introduced this pilot and now that it has proved it can make a real difference to victims the plan is to keep offering it as part of the services provided by Beacon.

“We are now looking to open out referrals to those beyond those who have reported to Action Fraud, starting with referrals from front line practitioners involved in welfare and social care.”

Hertfordshire’s latest PEEL report available dates to 2018/19. HMICFRS said : “Good victim care was evident during our inspection. We were impressed with the level of support the force gives to victims.”

It cited that good victim care was evident in 52 of the 60 cases which were reviewed, and said that the victim service team “offers all victims a good level of service”.

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