I have just attended the very first meeting of a new Group – The multi-agency Financial Crime Triage Hub Pilot – bit of a mouthful, but it is basically a Group meeting regularly, Chaired by Police Scotland. They will be considering Financial Crime where there is an aspect of vulnerability involved in relation to the victims of the crimes being perpetrated.
The Group intend to meet very regularly – commencing with weekly meetings, until they determine how regular is most effective. Their aims are to streamline and improve the assessment, allocation and investigation of financial crime across partner agencies as well as to reduce the threat of fraud – reducing victimisation and strengthening the protection of individuals, communities and infrastructure to identify local and national themes in relation to financial crime through a collaborative and proactive approach. They also want to encourage organisational and national learning.
It proved to be a very positive first meeting. I was very keen that we should remember that harm happens to adults both from traditional ‘scams’ and ‘frauds’, but also familial harm where the perpetrator of harm is well known to the victim. Those in attendance were very aware that this type of crime can also cause financial harm and great distress.
Although I am familiar with the type of crime – I heard a new word to describe it today ‘Sextortion’ – when someone, often a vulnerable individual, is enouraged to share a sexual image of themselves and the recipient then uses the image to extort money from the victim by threatening to share the image with their family/friends/employer. It can cause financial hardship and real stress and misery – on occasion, victims have taken their own lives. This type of crime can affect children and young people as well as adults, so links will be made with our Child Protection colleagues in relation to this.
I believe that an organisation named UK Finance, who represent all the Financial Institutions in the UK will be at a forthcoming meeting and I have requested that I do short input with them in relation to legal obligations under the ASP Act for Financial Institutions in Scotland, in relation to providing financial data in a timely manner to Council Officers conducting Inquiries under the Act.
It is my hope that this Hub will prove to be a really positive and proactive multi-agency approach to financial harm – watch this space!