Daily Archives: 30/07/2014

G4S pledges to become leading provider of Armed Forces Reservists

G4S has given its commitment to provide at least 600 staff as members of the military reserve from 2017, making the company one of the UK’s leading employers of Armed Forces Reservists.

At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Defence offices and hosted by the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, the Group CEO of G4S, Ashley Almanza, and General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, signed the G4S Armed Services Covenant.

Under the terms of the Covenant, G4S has also pledged to implement flexible working conditions for members of staff which will allow them to continue their training and be deployed on exercise when needed by the Ministry of Defence.

Ashley Almanza stated: “We’re very proud to play our part in supporting Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and fully committed to being the leading employer of Armed Forces Reservists in the country in support of the Government’s new strategy for introducing additional reserve forces. We already employ large numbers of former service personnel and our commitment through the Armed Forces Covenant reinforces the very close relationship that G4S has with the UK Armed Forces.”

Ashley Almanza: Group CEO at G4S

Ashley Almanza: Group CEO at G4S

The Covenant also confirms G4S’ commitment to support the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), a UK-based resettlement service which aims to provide civilian employment for ex-forces personnel. As part of this pledge, G4S will guarantee interviews to ex-forces personnel for appropriate vacancies.

Working together to achieve the numbers

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, said: “The pledge made by G4S to recruit a further 600 reservists is an immensely supportive step towards the Armed Forces and employers working together to achieve the numbers we need. This commitment illustrates recognition of the valuable experience and skills that reservists bring to an employer, particularly one as large as G4S. We look forward to working closely with G4S in achieving this target and learning from them how to optimise the relationships between reserve soldiers, G4S as their employer and the Army.”

General Sir Peter Wall continued: “It’s incredibly encouraging that employers like G4S are seeing reserve service as an asset in their employees and that their employment is mutually beneficial to both defence and the company. We recognise that we cannot grow our Reserve Forces alone. We need to work in partnership with big businesses such as G4S and support them so that they in turn can support our reserves.”

Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State, commented: “It’s right that everyone, including businesses, recognises the tremendous contribution and sacrifice that our Armed Forces and their families make for our country. Many firms already back our Armed Forces, and I want to help them improve what they offer and to encourage others to provide similar support.”

Michael Fallon MP: Secretary of State for Defence

Michael Fallon MP: Secretary of State for Defence

He concluded: “I’m pleased to see G4S taking the opportunity to formally support our Armed Forces community and to make a real difference to their lives by signing the Corporate Covenant.”

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Home Office rewards police innovation with £50 million fund

The Home Office has announced that every police force in England and Wales will receive its share of a £50 million Home Office fund for projects aimed at transforming policing through innovation and collaboration.

The successful schemes have included investment in body-worn cameras, ground-breaking forensics techniques and joint working between the police and the fire service.

Forces were awarded money for new approaches to tackling anti-social behaviour and rural crime, a project to help young runaways and work designed to improve the way in which the police service interacts with individuals who have mental health problems.

Mike Penning MP

Mike Penning MP

New policing minister Mike Penning MP said: “I’m delighted that every police force in the country showed such a positive, forward-thinking attitude and came to us with new ideas and ways of working. It meant we could allocate £50 million to some really innovative projects, and I’m already looking forward to visiting forces and seeing the results.”

Penning added: “Crime has fallen by more than 10% under this Government. I believe we can help the police do their job even better by encouraging them to embrace new technology and build on ideas coming from the grass roots.”

The Police Innovation Fund

The Police Innovation Fund is in its first full year of operation and up to £50 million will be allocated every 12 months.

Earlier this year, the Home Office made a precursor fund of £20 million available to Police and Crime Commissioners.

Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales will benefit from the fund in 2014.

Among the most innovative of the 85 proposals to receive funding this time were:

*a joint bid of £431,000 by Nottinghamshire Police and Lancashire Police to reduce the processing time for a DNA profile from four or five days to two hours
*eight forces – Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, the Met, Hampshire, Durham, the City of London, Merseyside and North Wales – will share more than £4 million to spend on body-worn camera technology
*the Metropolitan Police Service successfully bid for £113,000 to help develop a new spray which will be able to quickly identify body fluids at crime scenes

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CIFAS awarded Cyber Essentials Plus certification

CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service – has been awarded the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Plus certificate: an important accreditation that underlines the continued commitment to battling cyber security threats and risks.

The Cyber Essentials Plus certificate is a part of the UK Government’s new Cyber Essentials Scheme, which seeks to improve the response of UK businesses to cyber security threats as well as certify their capabilities.

CIFAS – a data sharing scheme that brings together over 300 organisations from across the public and private sectors to prevent fraud through the sharing of data – received the certification from Dionach. Dionach is accredited by CREST to carry out Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certification services. CIFAS had to complete the Cyber Essentials questionnaire and was subjected to an external perimeter vulnerability scan as well as an onsite workstation assessment.

CIFAS has been awarded the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate

CIFAS has been awarded the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate

Security of services and data

Simon Dukes – CEO at CIFAS – commented: “The security of services and data is something that we take exceptionally seriously. As more services move online so has more fraudulent activity. The need to take strong, robust and agreed measures to combat the cyber threat is at the heart of CIFAS’ message to all organisations and individuals in the UK today.”

Dukes added: “Achieving this certification is evidence of our commitment to cyber security. We are very pleased to be involved with the Cyber Essentials Scheme and we strongly urge all UK organisations – whether private, public or third sector – to join the collaborative efforts being taken to counter the threat posed by cyber criminals.”

Dionach’s business development director Rob Embers stated: “It’s good to see important organisations like CIFAS taking the lead in such critical areas. Cyber Essentials will help develop a good base line level of security within the UK and allow organisations to conduct business over the Internet with more sense of trust. We hope that this will be the first of many certifications to be provided by Dionach.”

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Big data ‘not a game played by different rules’ states the ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has set out how big data can – and must – operate within data protection law.

The regulator’s latest report outlines that operating within the law should not be seen as a barrier to innovation.

Big data is a way of analysing data that typically uses massive datasets, brings together data from different sources and can analyse the data in real time. It often uses personal data, be that looking at broad trends in aggregated sets of data or creating detailed profiles in relation to individuals (for example, around lending or insurance decisions).

The ICO’s report sets out how the law applies when big data uses personal information. It details which aspects of the law organisations need to particularly consider, and highlights that organisations can stay the right side of the law and still innovate.

Buzz around big data

Announcing the publication of the report Steve Wood, the ICO’s head of policy delivery, said: “There is a buzz around big data and emerging evidence of its economic and social benefits. However, we’ve seen a lot of organisations who are raising questions about how they can innovate to find these benefits and still comply with the law. Individuals are also showing they’re concerned about how their data is being used and shared in big data-type scenarios.”

Big Data's on the ICO's radar

Big Data’s on the ICO’s radar

Wood continued: “What we’re saying in this report is that many of the challenges of compliance can be overcome by companies being open about what they’re doing. Organisations need to think of innovative ways to tell customers what they want to do and what they’re hoping to achieve. Not only does that go a long way towards complying with the law, but there are also benefits from being seen as responsible custodians of data.”

The report addresses concerns raised by some commentators that current data protection law doesn’t fit with big data.

“Big data can work within the established data protection principles,” said Wood. “The basic data protection principles already established in UK and EU law are flexible enough to cover big data. Applying those principles involves asking all the questions that anyone undertaking big data ought to be asking. Big data is not a game that is played by different rules. The principles are still fit for purpose, but organisations need to innovate when applying them.”

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Face of fraud changes as conmen rely on innocence of youth

KPMG’s latest Fraud Barometer states that fraud cases totalling £317 million were recorded in the first half of 2014. The figure represents a 39% drop compared to the same period last year, but the number of frauds has remained constant.

The latest cases also suggest organisations have failed to spot a ‘changing of the guard’ as the profile of fraudsters shifts from rogue senior executives to younger individuals funding extravagant lifestyles.

Analysis of the cases going through British Crown Courts since the start of 2014 shows that frauds committed by those aged 26-35 were valued at just over £62 million – an increase of 285% on the first half of 2013. At the same time, frauds committed by those aged 46 and over fell by 72% to £88 million.

The data shows that one scam, masterminded by two 26 year-olds, revolved around the hijacking of mobile phone accounts. The two individuals began by creating a fake company that purchased lists containing customer details on the pretence of marketing directly to them. They then assigned victims’ phone numbers to SIM cards in their possession by calling the network provider and posing as the account holder.

Having transferred numbers to new SIMs, the fraudsters repeatedly dialled premium rate lines only for the real customer to be billed for any calls made. Bills totalling £2.8 million were amassed, and the crimes only discovered when customers complained that handsets could not make or receive calls.

Another case involved a 30 year-old man who convinced his victims to invest in vintage wine, which they believed would increase in value. More than 400 people were conned into handing over sums ranging from £20,000 to £2 million, yet their funds were used to purchase a Lamborghini and a five-bedroom house with a swimming pool.

Hitesh Patel: UK forensic partner at KPMG

Hitesh Patel: UK forensic partner at KPMG

Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, commented: “Where once it was the jaded executive who relied on unquestioned seniority and authority to get away with dipping their hands in the till, now it seems we are witnessing a changing of the guard. Today’s fraudster is younger and every bit as much at ease with using technology and data as they are selling promises. They rely on the assumption of the innocence of youth, whereas the reality is that many of these fraudsters are nothing more than a wolf in lamb’s clothing. It’s important for UK organisations to recognise that youth doesn’t always equal innocence, as a confident and tech ‘savvy’ generation comes through, adept at circumnavigating conventional controls and remaining under the radar.”

Values increasing with confidence

The latest figures also show that, for the first six months of 2014, the average case value was £2 million – a fall of 43% compared to that recorded between January and July 2013 (£3.5 million).

On the face of it, this sounds like good news, but history shows that fraudsters tend to start with smaller schemes to test the system, with fraud value then increasing as their confidence grows if they’re not caught.

The latest data shows, for example, that the increase in volume in the £1 million-£10 million bracket was driven by a significant increase in insider fraud, with the number of employee-perpetrated frauds in this value range increasing more than ten-fold.

One Case Study showing the trend for insider activity – and the youthful nature of conmen – revolved around a 24 year-old bank clerk who attached a device to a computer within the branch at which he worked. The device allowed fictional deposits worth £1.1 million to be made into 15 customer accounts, which were then withdrawn by the customers and a colleague – all of whom had been colluding with the ring-leader.

“Super cases are conspicuous by their absence,” continued Patel. “Instead, we are witnessing the rise of comparatively small value crimes as fraudsters try to get away with theft by hoping smaller scale activities can accumulate as they go unnoticed over time. The truth is that these crimes still leave victims in their wake. A business will ignore such occurrences at its peril. Complacency and the ‘It won’t happen to me’ syndrome should not be allowed to creep in to peoples’ mindset as the battle to combat white collar crime goes on.”

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is…

The latest KPMG Fraud Barometer suggests that private investors are the biggest victims of fraud, with 48% of fraud losses resulting from the false promise of a return on investment.

The latest data also highlights a growth in the number of individual investor victims, with losses of £153 million (up from £74 million for the same period last year).

Fraud cases totalling £317 million were recorded in the first half of 2014, according to KPMG’s latest Fraud Barometer

Fraud cases totalling £317 million were recorded in the first half of 2014, according to KPMG’s latest Fraud Barometer

One case involved a crooked financial adviser dubbed the ‘Wolf of Old Hall Street’ who bought a fleet of supercars, invested in a racehorse and sponsored two Premier League football clubs with the proceeds of his con artistry. His scam involved the creation of a bogus investment fund for which he persuaded investors to hand over large cash sums which he simply spent. One victim was so convinced that he parted with £3.7 million, none of which has been recovered.

Patel concluded: “The economy may be improving but the pressure to see a return on investment remains acute. Investors searching for extraordinary returns are likely to remain vulnerable to conmen promising much and delivering little. It’s a sad fact, but the truth remains that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

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