Figures published by UK Finance have revealed that £24.7 million of fraud has been prevented and 197 arrests made following the introduction of the banking protocol.
The scheme, which was rolled out nationally in in May 2017, is aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society branch. The scheme was trialled in London in 2016 by UK Finance, before being rolled out across the country. Since March, all of the UK’s 45 police forces have been part of the project.
Protocol enables bank branch staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate priority response to the branch.
In May 2018, the initiative prevented over £3m in fraud – a monthly record – while 17 arrests were made.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims and is often targeted at the most vulnerable people in society, which is why we must work together to prevent it.
“The banking protocol shows how close cooperation between the industry and law enforcement can help to protect victims and crack down on fraudsters. This kind of joined-up approach is crucial to stay one step ahead and ensure that unscrupulous scammers preying on customers are brought to justice.”
Head of the City of London Police’s economic crime directorate, detective chief superintendent Glenn Maleary, said: “Banks are often the first point of contact for someone who is about to fall victim to fraud, so the banking protocol is a vital way of protecting vulnerable victims and preventing fraudsters from taking advantage of them.”