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‘Fraud is a crime we need to get a grip on’ was the message as Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster launched a new strategic approach to help combat fraud across the West Midlands.

The PCC brought together partners from across the region – including West Midlands Police – to launch the first-ever public health approach to fraud. The new partnership will aim to empower the public, challenge fraudsters and help transform the West Midlands into one of the most difficult places to commit fraud.

PCC Simon Foster said: “All too often fraud is viewed through an exclusively financial lens – this neglects the fact it is a crime that can cause immeasurable harm to people that experience it.

“Fraud does not receive the priority – and the resources needed – to effectively and efficiently prevent, tackle and reduce it.

“We also need to be clear that when discussing fraud we are talking about victims. Victims who are cynically and ruthlessly deceived into believing that a bona fide investment opportunity is on offer; that they are in a genuine romantic relationship; or the email they are replying to or call they have answered is all above board.

PCC Simon Foster addresses the public health approach to fraud conference last week in Digbeth, Birmingham

“As per the crime survey for England and Wales, fraud now accounts for 39 per cent of all recorded crime.

“Here in the West Midlands, we have higher ‘cash for crash’ incidents than anywhere in the country, our victims are predominately younger than elsewhere and we have high rates of attacks against businesses and financial institutions which operate across our region.”

The new public health approach to fraud in the West Midlands is based on innovative research, funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Midlands Fraud Forum and the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit.

The collaboration will seek to bring together stakeholders from across the local fraud prevention landscape – ranging from Trading Standards, West Midlands Police and the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System – to sign everyone up to a singular strategic plan and approach as to how best to tackle fraud as a region.

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