More than £400,000 worth of fraud has been prevented since the county’s police introduced a “ground-breaking” scheme to protect potential victims. 

The Banking Protocol implemented by Hertfordshire Constabulary in May last year revealed the theft of hundreds of thousands of pounds from fraud victims in the county had been successfully avoided.

Since the initiative was introduced, a total of 113 emergency calls have been placed and responded to and 65 vulnerable bank users have been protected. The figures run through to May this year. 

The Banking Protocol developed between police, the finance industry and Trading Standards, enables bank branch staff to contact police when they suspect fraudulent behaviour, with “immediate priority response from the branch”.

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Call handlers, branch staff, police and trading standards officers have been trained in appropriate steps to be taken when a customer is at risk, and country-wide the Banking Protocol has led to 197 arrests and the prevention of £25million being defrauded. 

In addition to stopping fraud, the scheme ensures consistent support for potential victims to prevent it happening in the future.

UK Finance led the development of The Banking Protocol, with support from the National Trading Standards Scam team and the Joint Fraud Taskforce.

Detective Inspector Marcus Bromley, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “When the Banking Protocol first launched we were really keen to be involved with the scheme and roll it out across Hertfordshire as soon as possible. It has proved an invaluable tool in tackling fraud, particularly against elderly and vulnerable victims. 

“We’re really pleased with the results so far and hope we can stop further potential victims from falling prey to callous fraudsters.”

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.”