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Cambridgeshire’s new fraud model has focus on uplifting

Cambridgeshire Detective Inspector Tom Rowe recently implemented a new fraud operating model that sees fraud outreach surgeries working to uplift local CID teams.

A key element to Cambridgeshire’s new Fraud Operating Model is the time dedicated to uplifting other officers within the force in fraud and cyber investigation skills. 

DI Tom Rowe’s team consists of seven fraud and cyber DSs, five fraud and cyber prevention officers and they are currently uplifting two cyber investigators. 

In spite of the small team, however, DI Rowe told Police Oracle that around 75-80 per cent of their time is spent pursuing criminals, and the rest of the team's capacity is invested in uplifting the wider force. 

"We talk around the need for more resources and fraud is an operational priority for everyone," he said. "However, it doesn't bang, bleed and shout where some priorities in policing do - and quite deservedly they get that extra support and resource. 

“The real power to the punch of a fraud team is uplifting everyone else,” he explained. 

“The whole point of the fraud circle is not just around investigations. It’s about giving everyone a holistic approach to fraud from different areas.”

As well as providing tactical advice and regular attachments, the new model has brought in ‘fraud surgeries’ which sees fraud DCs and Fraud and Cyber Prevention Officers from the centralised team embedded within local CID teams. 

It is organised via a rota and means that specialist fraud and cyber officers will sit alongside those in other teams in local stations. 

Advice on things from production orders and warrants through to tips for prevention could be shared. 

The force also has a policy of delivering fraud investigation model inputs at constable, sergeant and inspector intake levels. 

Intrinsic to the new model is a disruptive approach, even in cases where prosections aren’t possible. 

“We’ve had a couple of cases recently where we’ve recovered over £500,000 worth of cyber assets working with cryptocurrency companies,” DI Rowe explained. 

“We’ve worked with companies to get assets that were taken abroad to hostile countries back to the UK and back into the pockets of victims. 

“We will never put those criminals in front of Cambridge or Peterborough Crown Court - traditionally that goes against every grain of policing, but we can’t arrest ourselves out of fraud and cyber there’s too much of it. 

“For example, we can’t use POCA, but with the use of technology like chain analysis - if we can prove to the company that the money has been stolen - trace it from someone’s crypto account, then they have to take it off the suspect and give it back to the victim. 

“The idea is that if we hit criminals in the pocket, they can’t operate.” 

He added that exit strategies are also well used - working with partners to disrupt groups and prevent them operating even if they are unable to convict. 

The model has established a clearer entrance for fraud workload. Cases are assessed according to the value, severity and complexity and their impact on public trust and confidence. 

Leaving behind the ‘Officer in charge’ model, the fraud team now would have five or six officers sharing roles on an operation.

The new model has been scrutinised by City of London, HMICFRS and Gloucestershire and DI Rowe said overall it has received a “thumbs up”. 

DI Rowe said: “Imagine if everyone drove around without seatbelts - we wouldn't have enough cops to patrol that. But we’ve got the message out there on the dangers of not putting your seatbelt on. 

“It's exactly what we do now with cyber and fraud victims. If we make everyone take that approach, to be guarded against fraud, understand the dangers of fraud, we don't need to start bidding for 50 officers to investigate it.” 

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