Hundreds of officers have been assigned to a new Metropolitan Police unit aimed at combatting the growing threat of online fraud.
The FALCON unit was officially launched by Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe earlier this week but has been up and running since the beginning of August.
It will lead the Met’s response to crime such as courier fraud where criminals pretend to be the victim’s bank and claim to need to collect their debit or credit card, as well as advance fee fraud and the online sale of goods which don’t exist.
Speaking at the launch, the commissioner said while the unit would be fully funded by the public purse, the Met was interested in hearing how firms could provide support and data to help it make London a safer place for them to operate.
Sir Bernard added that he wanted the capital to become a “hostile” environment for online criminals and said it was important that the Met modernise itself to ensure officers have the right skills to combat computer and online crime.
Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said the new unit “represents an important step forward in tackling retail crime” and urged forces outside the capital to learn from the Met’s “partnership approach” with business.
FALCON has also been welcomed by Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London Police and the UK’s Policing Lead for Economic Crime.
Commissioner Leppard said: “These London-based teams will be an important addition to the national capability being developed by the City of London Police, the National Crime Agency and police forces across the rest of the country.”
Detective Superintendent Jane Snelgrove who heads FALCON urged members of the public who suspect an online site, auction or advert is fraudulent to contact Action Fraud so their concerns could be investigated.