Sniffing out fraud

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Fighting Fraud WDS & AERL – Embassy 4,
January 2008

With billions of pounds of money changing hands in the City every day, it’s an obvious target for fraudsters.

Combatting fraud falls to the City of London Police, whose Police Commissioner Michael Bowrom, gave diplomats an insight into how his department tackles this growing international crime.

Diplomats were given an overview of the organisation’s activities after which they were shown a preview of a pilot for the BBC on ‘Boiler Room’ fraud, a new type of fraud in which victims are sold worthless shares by highly sophisticated fraudsters whose networks extend to Spain, Canada, Germany and South Africa.

The Economic Crime Department at the City of London Police currently boasts 158 detectives, which includes the Instant Response Fraud Team, an anti-fraud brigade of 70 officers that catches fraudsters in the act – in one case recovering £170m. The cheque and plastic card fraud team, meanwhile, has 35 officers, each recovering an estimated £2m per officer annually. A further 46 officers will be recruited to tackle Boiler Room fraud, bringing the team to over 200 officers, one of the biggest fraud squads in the world, said Steve Wilmott, who heads the Economic Crime Department.

The highlight of the presentation was a dog demonstration in which Daisy, the department’s ace sniffer dog, sniffed out a wad of cash hidden in the conference room, to rapturous applause from the audience.

The City of London Police runs a 13-week National Fraud Foundation Course and a two-week National Cheque and Plastic Card Investigation Course. For more information, contact Steve Wilmott on: