Here are a few gems of guidance on this wonderful new piece of legislation.
Q: What has changed in relation to police recording plastic card and cheque fraud?
A: There are two major changes, the first is the introduction of a new category of ‘economic crime’ and the second is to make the financial institutions the first point of contact for account holders when dealing with these fraud offences.
Q: What does an ‘economic crime’ mean then?
(Look into my eyes.)
A: Previously if a person had their credit card stolen and it was subsequently used on 10 separate occasions to buy goods fraudulently from 10 different shops there would be a requirement for 1 crime record for theft and 10 for deception. Under the ‘economic crime’ category there is only a requirement for 1 theft and 1 fraud by false representation.
The principle is based on the number of separate accounts that have been defrauded as opposed to the number of individual transactions on each account.
Q: So if a member of the public comes into the police station and tells me that their credit card has been stolen and used on 10 different occasions what should I do?
(You are feeling sleepy...)
A: Record a crime for theft of the card and a Crime Related Incident for the economic crime. The member of the public should be instructed to inform their financial institution about the fraudulent uses of the credit card. The financial institution can then report the economic crime direct to the Police via a central recording point in each force if they wish to. They will supply further details such as a schedule of usage that is necessary to prosecute such offences.
Q: What about a member of the public who comes into the police station and tells me that they believe their credit card has been compromised/cloned and then has a number of unlawful transactions made on it?
(You will use the force mind control on Joe P. You have not been a victim of crime. wave your hand at the same time)
A: Record a Crime Related Incident. The member of the public should be instructed to inform their financial institution about the fraudulent uses of the credit card. The financial institution can then report the economic crime direct to the Police via a central recording point in each force if they wish to. They will supply further details such as a schedule of usage that is necessary to prosecute such offences.
Q: So the Financial Institutions could send every single economic crime to the single point of contact and overwhelm us?
(No stupid. They're in league with us and shall receive knighthoods for massaging the figures.)
A: At the moment the institutions could give the Police every fraudulent transaction that occurs on every plastic card to record as a deception. They choose not to do this as there is recognition that Police do not have resources to record or investigate each individual instance.
Q: Will the institutions be expecting that each economic crime they report to Police will be investigated?
(I refer the right honourable gentleman to the reply I made to his earlier question.)
A: No guarantees have been given that each crime will be investigated, although they must be recorded. The more information the institution is able to give the Police to lead them to the identification, apprehension and prosecution of offenders, the more likelihood there will be for the Police Service to investigate these crimes.
Q: Surely this is just a manipulation of the figures for fraud?
(Why isn't this mind control working on Fact?)
A: This economic crime category was originally suggested by ACPO in 2004, although it was felt prudent to dovetail the proposals with the introduction of the new fraud act, which is what we have done. The Home Office will be using figures from the Association of Payment Clearing Services (APACS UK Payments Associations) on plastic card fraud to better represent the overall figures for plastic fraud crime, in the recorded crime figures. (Did anyone understand this answer???)
Watch this space. This time next year the home office will be crowing about how they have slashed fraud offences. No, really.