Date: 16 August 2013
Venue: Salford Suite, Salford Civic Centre, Swinton, M27 5DA
At Tony‘s first themed public forum, he was joined by Jim Battle, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and Graham Brady MP for Altrincham and Sale West to challenge Greater Manchester Police and representatives from Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau about how they deal with fraud cases. Fraud was chosen as the topic after Tony was contacted by members of the public, and MPs on behalf of constituents, about their experiences as victims of fraud. Victims often felt confused and frustrated about how their case was handled and felt that the police didn’t care.
The panel heard from Action Fraud, which was set up by the government to take reports of fraud. But although there has been a 27% increase in reports since the body rolled out nationally three years ago, there is still a lack of awareness which means the public are left confused about how to report it and many crimes go unreported.
“Fraud is complex and can be huge strain on resources,” said Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy. “It can be difficult to gather evidence and find out where the crime originates from.”
Sir Peter agreed that there needs to be better awareness of who the public should report fraud to and victims need to be better informed about their case.
“If victims are unhappy then there should be someone, such as an ombudsman, for them to go to,” he adds. “It should also be easier for victims to get other forms of redress, for example through the civil courts.”
“Being a victim of fraud can be devastating,” said Tony. “They turn to the police as the first port of call but then feel they are being fobbed off and passed from pillar to post. The perception is they feel nobody is taking their case seriously, which impacts on their confidence in the police, and this is something that needs putting right. That’s why I chose this as the first forum topic, to look at how GMP deals with fraud and explore how we can improve things.
“This has been a useful exchange and some interesting ideas have come out of it which I’ll now look into taking forward, such as the idea of an ombudsman and how we can build a better understanding of fraud and prevention. What’s clear is we need to improve public awareness of how the police deal with fraud and make sure victims are kept informed at every step.”
Find out what happened:
- GMP fraud briefing (pdf opens in a new window)
- GMPCC minutes of the fraud themed public forum (pdf opens in a new window)
- Commissioner’s report into fraud (pdf opens in a new window)
- Watch a video of the event below