Gold standard specialist victim fraud hub set to be extended
A ‘gold standard’ scheme to support every victim of fraud in Hertfordshire is set to be extended.

Following a successful pilot, of the first enhanced scheme of its kind in England and Wales, there are plans to run the Beacon Fraud Hub for a second year.

Created by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, the scheme was recently hailed at the College of Policing fraud conference as the ‘gold standard’ for victims of this crime type in England and Wales.

The unit has four members of staff with specialist knowledge who contact all those in the county who have reported having money fraudulently taken.

In the first six months alone since its creation in April last year its advisers have directly helped more than 3,500 victims.

Its extension marks one of the first milestones in the Year of Beacon – which in 2020 is marking the fifth anniversary of the creation of Hertfordshire’s victim care service centre.

Now Mr Lloyd has approved proposals to explore making the Fraud Hub a run for a second year in Beacon.

Mr Lloyd said: “As fraud is the crime that you are most likely to fall victim to in Hertfordshire, I wanted to make sure we are doing everything possible to prevent people becoming repeat victims and give them the upmost support.

“Everyone has experience of being contacted by phone or email by someone trying to scam them out of money.  Sadly it is often the elderly and most vulnerable that hand over money to these very convincing and sophisticated criminals.

“That is why I introduced this pilot and now that it has proved it can make a real difference to victims the plan is to keep offering it as part of the services provided by Beacon.

“We are now looking to open out referrals to those beyond those who have reported to Action Fraud, starting with referrals from front line practitioners involved in welfare and social care.”

Every week a list of around 650 Hertfordshire fraud victims who have initially reported to the Action Fraud, the designated national police organisation, are sent to Beacon.

The Fraud Hub use technical knowledge to help develop an action plan for victims which includes liaising with agencies on their behalf; conducting a needs assessment; providing practical support and measures for target hardening.

Though not set-up to investigate the crime or recover lost funds, there are several examples where Beacon has been able to retrieve the money stolen from the victims through effective advocacy with financial institutions.

One resident whose family business was close to collapse after a conman stole £23,000 got her money back thanks to new anti-fraud team.

Karen Oak, from Stevenage, got all her lost money reimbursed by her bank after advice from one of the advisors on how to contact her bank and what regulations to rely on.

The Beacon Fraud Hub is now an integral part of the County Fraud Strategy and where substantive links have been made with Citizens Advice and Age UK.

The £128,000 pilot covered the salaries and other expenses of the four new staff recruited and was funded by a government Ministry of Justice victim commissioning grant.
The Beacon Fraud Hub involves the Victim Service Team (VST) making proactive calls to victims list and Catch 22 Fraud Advisors delivering a technically competent and supportive role by offering a complete package of support for those most in need.
VST undertake an initial needs assessment with onward referral to Catch 22 Case Managers where the victim has indicated they require tailored support.

In the six months from 1 Apr to 30 Sep 2019 the VST received details of 3,727 crimes, this consisted of 469 reports from businesses and 3,258 from Hertfordshire individuals.

The VST attempted to contact by telephone 2,999 individuals (80% of all reports). The model allows for all businesses to receive a letter.

The support provided by Catch 22 includes: providing emotional and / or practical support, security advice and advocacy on the victim’s behalf, information provision, liaising with the police, and referrals onto third party agencies for specialist support.

Beacon - The Beacon team will contact all victims of crime and, where appropriate, work with specialist case managers to provide a complete wrap-around service to help victims to cope and recover.

The team has direct access to Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust Single Point of Access team (Mental Health services), Hertfordshire County Council Social Care Access Team and Hertfordshire Home Security Service to ensure that they can provide assistance quickly and seamlessly. 

Hertfordshire Beacon is staffed by Victim Service Team each day 8am – 8pm, in addition, Catch22 employees work Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm & Saturday 9am – 5pm. By phone: 0300 011 55 55 by email or