14/12/2017

FINANCE INDUSTRY, POLICE AND TRADING STANDARDS UNITE IN CLEVELAND TO TACKLE FRAUD

• Ground-breaking rapid response scheme – the Banking Protocol – means local branch staff can alert police and Trading Standards to suspected frauds taking place
• Since the scheme rolled out in Cleveland in March 2017, £258,000 of fraud has been stopped leading to 8 arrests
• Nationally the Protocol has stopped more than £9 million of potential fraud in first year of operation, with 101 arrests made

A ground-breaking fraud prevention scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society branch has stopped more than £9 million being passed to criminals in its first year of operation, figures from UK Finance show.

The Banking Protocol, developed as a partnership between the finance industry, Police and Trading Standards, enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with a rapid response to the branch.

The Banking Protocol was first launched in October 2016 with a pilot in London, before a national rollout began in May. Cleveland launched the scheme in March 2017.

It is now in place in 43 police forces across the country, with all remaining forces in the UK committed to introducing it.

Nationally, in the 12 months since the pilot was launched until the end of October 2017, the Banking Protocol has prevented £9.1 million of fraud, with individual customers protected from losing sums from £99 up to £212,000. So far, the scheme has led to 101 arrests being made across the country, with police responding to a total of 1262 Banking Protocol calls.

In Cleveland £258,000 in fraud has been prevented, with 8 arrests made since the Protocol was launched.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said:

“Fraud can have a devastating effect on some of the most susceptible people in society and it’s by working together with law enforcement, and others, that we can make a real difference when it matters most. The Banking Protocol is a great example of this collaboration in action protecting people from becoming victims. The finance industry is determined to crack down on fraud and is taking action on all fronts - the Protocol is an important weapon in our armoury."

UK Finance has led the development and implementation of the Banking Protocol with support from the National Trading Standards Scam team and the Joint Fraud Taskforce. As well as stopping frauds taking place, the scheme ensures a consistent response to potential victims and gives them extra support to prevent them becoming a victim in the future. The Post Office is also part of the Protocol.

Detective Inspector Stephen Bell from Cleveland Police said: “This is a fantastic initiative that brings together the various agencies from both the public and private sectors to help prevent crime. It also ensures vulnerable members of our community do not become victims of financial crime.”