City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard has welcomed the Metropolitan Police Service’s announcement concerning the creation of a new fraud and cyber crime team dedicated to protecting Londoners vulnerable to the threat of economic criminality.
Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM officially launched FALCON – Fraud and Linked Crime Online – at the QEII Conference Centre in London’s Westminster. The new team will consist of up to 500 officers dedicated to tackling cyber crime, acquisitive crime with an online aspect and fraud that does not have an online element attached to it.
The overall aim is to create a new operating model for the investigation and prevention of fraud and cyber crime in London that will deliver seven key services. These are as follows:
(1) Volume and cyber-enabled investigations
A centralised capability that will remove the onus of investigation of fraud and cyber-enabled acquisitive crime from local policing Boroughs and provide a consistent approach towards investigations
(2) Complex and proactive fraud investigations
A centralised investigations service that proactively targets individual criminals and organised crime groups causing the most harm to individuals and businesses
(3) Pure cyber investigations
An increased capacity to undertake proactive and reactive investigations in response to intelligence or referral (from the national body)
(4) Problem solving, prevention and industry liaison
A capacity to work in partnership alongside businesses with a common purpose of preventing fraud and cyber-enabled fraud. This will enable the Metropolitan Police Service to link more regularly and effectively with business forums and, in turn, encourage the reporting of crime
(5) Victim care
Provision of a service to ensure that all London-based crime victims are recorded and contacted. This will enable the gathering of intelligence to improve future investigative outcomes and also identify enablers designed to support ongoing prevention and enforcement activity
(6) Performance, training and marketing
To provide accurate performance and information to internal and external stakeholders with data relating to both threats and trends
The creation of a fraud and cyber crime intelligence capability
In summary, Project FALCON is being developed in response to the significant growth in cyber-enabled acquisitive crime. Borough-based police officers will continue to be responsible for investigating cyber crimes involving malicious communications, harassment or cyber stalking.
Speaking at the launch event, Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM explained: “FALCON sees a more focused and joined-up approach by the Met, the business sector and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that we’re protecting the public, designing out crime and arresting the culprits. We will be more powerful if the three of us can work together – the police, the public and businesses.”
Cyber crime challenges faced by Londoners
As the national policing lead for economic crime with responsibility for the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud, the City of London Police has been an active supporter of the Met in addressing the fraud and cyber crime challenges faced by Londoners.
Those challenges are evidenced by the high proportion of reported economic crime assessed by the NFIB that results in disseminations to the Met for consideration of London-based investigations.
City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard said: “I welcome the creation of FALCON and the priority this type of crime is being given by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the London Mayor’s Office. 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.”
Karen Bradley, Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, added: “The threat from cyber crime is ranked as ‘Major’ in our National Security Strategy and the Government is investing £860 million over five years to tackle this issue. We’re also increasing knowledge throughout local police forces with specialist training. I’m very pleased to see the Metropolitan Police Service’s commitment to dealing with fraud and cyber crime, and I look forward to hearing about the vital contribution FALCON will make to this work.”
*Further detail is available in a Metropolitan Police Service Briefing Note on Cyber Crime. Access: http://www.met.police.uk/docs/cyber-crime.pdf