April 29th marks the fifth anniversary of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) and represents a significant milestone in the history of the UK’s ongoing fight against organised fraud. The DCPCU is a specialist police unit, fully sponsored by APACS, which works with police forces across the country to tackle plastic card and cheque fraud. The Unit is jointly resourced, with APACS and its member banks providing fraud investigators and administrators who work alongside officers from the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces.
The DCPCU was launched on 29 April 2002 as a two-year pilot and, following the successful conclusion of this trial, it was established as a permanent Unit with an ongoing brief to help stamp out organised card and cheque fraud. Since its inception, the DCPCU has been responsible for more than GBP130 million in savings from reduced fraud activity and has recovered more than 125,000 counterfeit cards and card numbers. The Unit has also secured 156 convictions and made almost 400 arrests on fraud related matters.
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said:
“The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit has been an important initiative to cut fraud over the last five years and I am delighted at the successes they have had.
“When I visited the Unit with the Home Secretary earlier this year I was impressed by the professionalism and dedication shown by the employees and the GBP130million of fraud prevented is a testament to all their hard work and effort.
“The banking industry must also take credit for these successes. Their financial support for this Unit provides an excellent example of how a public/private partnership can work together to create a valuable addition to law enforcement when tackling organised financial crime.”
The DCPCU is now headed by Detective Chief Inspector John Folan who replaced DCI Roger Cook in January of this year. John has twenty years’ experience in law enforcement and brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role. Commenting on his recent appointment DCI Folan said:
“I look forward to the challenges that this new role presents and am keen to build on the impressive successes that the Unit has already achieved.
“Having worked for the City of London and Metropolitan Police Forces in a wide variety of criminal investigation roles – including the Fraud Squad – I have seen first-hand the effects that the work of organised criminal gangs can have on individuals, businesses and on the economy as a whole. It is clear from the outstanding results that the Unit has achieved over the past five years that the DCPCU is a valuable asset in the ongoing fight against fraud.”
During 2007, the banking industry also plans to merge its Fraud Intelligence Bureau – the body that distributes information and intelligence between the banking industry and law enforcement throughout the UK – with the intelligence section of the DCPCU to create a Payments Industry and Police Joint Intelligence Unit. The combined unit will have increased funding and a wider remit to address all types of payment industry fraud.