The campaign against fraudsters who target people in Cambridgeshire has received a boost after the constabulary joined a national scheme.
The force signied up to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.
The change took effect on January 21.
As well as saving up to 500 hours of police time a year, the scheme will mean reports of fraud are dealt with by specially-trained advisors and information is pooled in one location.
The reporting process should also be quicker and more convenient.
By capturing all fraud and internet crime intelligence in one place, police will be able to link seemingly unrelated crimes from around the country and identified organised criminal networks.
Under the new system, members of the public reporting fraud will be redirected to Action Fraud, who can be contacted by phone or online.
Officers will continue to take reports from vulnerable people or where a crime is in progress but this will then be fed through Action Fraud.
All reports and information submitted to Action Fraud will be transferred daily to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) at City of London Police.
There, all crimes and information reports are analysed together with other information received from many other organisations and filtered to leave just those crimes where there are good lines of enquiry to follow up.
Those crimes will be sent to the relevant authority for further investigation, with a small proportion returned to the force.
Detective Superintendent Tom Mackinnon said: “We hope that by using Action Fraud we will have the potential to save hundreds of hours spent filling in reports, as well as providing the public with just one point of reference.
“It will free up officers to spend time only on investigations where action can be taken and on work to prevent scams, rip-offs and cons in the first place.”
Every police force must change to use Action Fraud as its fraud and internet crime reporting service by April 1 this year.
It was set up in 2009 and takes more than 7,000 crime reports every month.
Information provided to the centre is only shared with police and is totally secure.
Reports can be made by calling 0300 1232040, seven days a week during open hours, or online at any time at www.actionfraud.police.uk
Action Fraud factfile
· More than 116,000 crime reports have been received nationally by Action Fraud since its launch in October 2009
· The total value of crime reported nationally is more than £1.1 billion
· August 2012 was the contact centre’s busiest month with almost 22,000 calls.
· The top four reported frauds over the past three months are: advanced fee frauds (for PPI for example), banking and credit industry fraud, online shopping and auctions and computer software service fraud.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (February 14) Echo.