Banking protocol stops £25m being lost to fraud and leads to 197 arrests

The latest figures from UK Finance revealed that almost £25m worth of fraud has been prevented, while 197 arrests have been made, thanks to the introduction of the Banking Protocol, a scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society branch.

The scheme was rolled out nationally in May 2017 and enables bank branch staff to contact the police if they suspect that a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate priority response to the branch. UK Finance has led the development and implementation of the scheme, which is a partnership between the finance industry and the police, supported by National Trading Standards and the Joint Fraud Taskforce. Branch staff, police officers, call handlers and trading standards officers have been trained in the banking protocol, meaning they are familiar with the steps that need to be taken and how to handle the sensitive cases.

In October 2016, the scheme was launched as a pilot in London, before being rolled out in May 2017, and since March of this year it has been implemented by all 45 police forces in the UK. Furthermore, as well as the 197 arrests that have been made, 3,682 emergency calls have been placed and responded to through the scheme, with the average prevention per call equating to £6,720.

The most recent figures from UK Finance revealed that, in May alone, over £3m was stopped, a monthly record, and 17 arrests were made.

UK Finance managing director of economic crime Katy Worobec said: “Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims and is often targeted at the most vulnerable people in society, which is why we must work together to prevent it.

“The Banking Protocol shows how close cooperation between the industry and law enforcement can help to protect victims and crack down on fraudsters.

“This kind of joined-up approach is crucial to stay one step ahead and ensure that unscrupulous scammers preying on customers are brought to justice.”

City of London Police head of economic crime directorate detective chief superintendent Glenn Maleary also commented on the findings stating that, although the protocol has “built its strength”, bank branch staff and the police have to remain vigilant to changing criminal trends and adapt accordingly.

“The City of London Police, as the national policing lead for fraud and collator of the Protocol’s performance data, is proud to show that it has had such a significant impact on the fight against fraud and that it will continue to do so,” Maleary added.

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