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Stronger links with banks set to boost fight against doorstep crime

Strengthened links between banks, trading standards and police announced this week will boost Staffordshire’s fight against doorstep crime.

The Banking Protocol is a scheme that all banks and building societies have now signed up. It will streamline the process of reporting doorstep crime where victims request large cash withdrawals. Nationally the scheme is being run by Financial Fraud Action UK and is supported by trading standards teams and police forces across the country.

The term doorstep crime is used to describe the criminal activities of bogus traders and bogus officials who target the elderly and vulnerable in their homes. Bogus property repairers offer to carry out work such as roof repairs, tarmac drives and gardening.  Work is usually of very poor quality, prices are extortionate, work unfinished and often unnecessary.

The scheme’s main objectives are to identify potential victims who have been tricked into going into a bank to pay criminals, create a standardised reporting method and to apprehend offenders. In addition, it will aim to provide support to victims and help them to avoid similar crimes in the future. The reporting protocol scheme was launched in Staffordshire this month.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

Financial fraud and rogue trader activity causes a huge amount of misery for thousands of people and we’re keen to play a part in stopping it wherever we can. The Banking Protocol will give bank and building societies clearer reporting guidelines and hopefully stop criminal activity from going ahead. The scheme has been a success in areas where it is already operating and we are pleased to see it now getting off the ground in Staffordshire. In addition to protecting more vulnerable people by preventing large withdrawals of money, it will also give families peace of mind that banks are working closely with trading standards and the police to help prevent this type of crime.”

Detective Inspector Robert Harvmann, head of the fraud and financial investigation unit at Staffordshire Police, said:

These are particularly callous criminals who prey on the vulnerable to extort money from their victims that they can ill afford to lose. This is done through various means including impersonating the police, HMRC or other agencies over the telephone as well as rogue trader doorstep crime. This protocol is a demonstration of the excellent partnership working taking place to prevent these types of crimes, to intervene and make arrests and to protect those who need our help the most.”