Following measures to reduce the severity of COVID social distancing on the UK economy, the government announced financial stimulus packages, including grants and loans, to help those struggling financially during the ‘lockdown’ period.
So far, a total of 150 COVID stimulus schemes have been set up by the Government.
Sadly, a minority of individuals have fraudulently taken advantage of schemes through illegally claiming loans and grants at the expense of Her Majesty’s Government and you, the taxpayer.
Romance Fraud occurs when criminals feign romantic intentions towards their intended victim and use the nature of their relationship to fraudulently obtain money or sensitive information.
This can be a devastating crime for those involved with huge amounts of money being extracted from the victims.
Officers from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCUWM) executed three warrants in Coventry linked to a gang feeding heroin and crack cocaine into Warwickshire.
We seized more than 1,000 wraps of drugs and £10,000 in cash during raids this morning (5 June) as we brought down a major County Lines supply chain
ROCUWM along with our regional forces participated in the National anti-fraud campaign Project Otello earlier in the year.
First target was Courier fraud.
Suspect contacts victims by telephone claiming to be a Police Officer or bank staff
Take Five is a national campaign offering straight forward, impartial advice that helps prevent email, phone-based and online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.
Reducing the impact and increasing the disruption of serious and organised crime across the region and beyond
The Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands Region (ROCUWM) is a collaboration between the police forces of Staffordshire, West Midlands, West Mercia and Warwickshire to fight organised crime across the region.
To reduce the impact and increase the disruption of serious and organised crime with the West Midlands region and beyond.
To target all ROCU resources against the greatest threat and risk. To influence forces and partners to target their resources against the same.
To lead, support and co-ordinate the fight against crime across the West Midlands region.
Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands Region
The aim of the ROCUWM is to reduce the impact and increase the disruption of serious and organised crime within the region and beyond.
We target those areas of criminality we believe pose the greatest regional threats to the people and businesses of the area we cover.
Working alongside other UK law enforcement agencies and many other partners from both private and public sectors, the WMROCU will directly influence the capabilities of these groups, stifling and reducing their criminal activity.
The teams keeping you safe
Regional Economic Crime Unit West Midlands (RECUWM)
RECU conduct regionally money laundering (ML) investigations targeting Organised Crime Groups presenting criminal threat as detailed in the Regional Control Strategy, with particular emphasis on Economic Crime. They assist Senior Investigating Officers in the development of financial intelligence and increasingly evidence, and offer alternative enforcement strategies utilising tools derived from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and the Criminal Finances Act.
The Financial Investigation Team (FIT)
FIT (formerly RART) provides a multi-agency response to Serious and Organised Crime (SOC), using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and associated legislation to recover criminal assets and disrupt or remove threat and risk by financial investigation. With partner agencies FIT undertakes cross-jurisdiction asset recovery and money laundering investigations.
Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE)
ACE enforce unpaid POCA confiscation orders. ACE provide financial investigation capability and resources, working with specialist CPS and HMCTS staff, to ensure payment of outstanding monies and activation of default sentences. ACE undertake pro-active work, revisiting previous confiscation orders as a strand of Lifetime Offender Management (LOM), offering a very effective disruption tactic for tackling organised criminality.
The Regional Financial Disruption Team
The Regional Financial Disruption Team (formerly Regional Fraud Team) have refocussed to more dynamically exploit financial vulnerabilities of those involved in SOC through the new legislation available to them.
Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU)
The Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU) investigates the serious criminal activity surrounding cyber-crime such as high-end, extensive computer fraud and identity theft.
RCCU also brings cyber skills and e-forensic support to the investigation of serious and organised crime as part of WMROCU investigations.
Regional Prison Intelligence Unit (RPIU)
The Regional Prison Intelligence Unit has responsibility for ‘lifetime offender management’ within the region, maintaining a presence within the prison establishments covered by the WMROCU area. Each Prison Intelligence Officer has close links to their respective establishments, creating a strong working relationship which provides a vital gateway into the prison environment.
Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)
The Regional Intelligence Unit is responsible for gathering intelligence relating to serious, organised and complex crime that impacts across, into and from the region.
This unit works alongside police forces and other partner agencies in the region to gather an overall, comprehensive view of any threat posed by organised crime groups (OCGs).
Regional Fraud Team (RFT)
Regional Fraud Teams turn the spotlight on criminals who specialise in fraud. The teams focus is to reduce the impact of fraud offending on those targeted by organised crime. Working closely with the Regional Asset Recovery Team enables further disruption and impact upon organised criminals proceeds of crime.
West Midlands Government Agency Intelligence Network
The Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) is an intelligence function and is a core capability that sits within the Regional Organised Crime Unit.
It provides a mechanism to enable different regional and local agencies to work together in a more formal relationship, exchanging information within legislative constraints. In simple terms this means that through GAIN, police can access a whole range of information and data on individuals that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Disrupting serious and organised criminals
GAIN can play an integral role in locating and tracing individuals as well as filling in vital intelligence gaps. It removes both the geographical and organisational barriers that exist when trying to access information and data. And with nearly 100 members, including everything from government agencies to utility companies and broadband providers, there are a host of potential new leads for officers to investigate.
The Serious & Organised Crime, Menu of tactics has recently been published on the College of Policing, ‘What Works’ website.