Fraud investigations by day and Pilates instruction at night
Main article content
Dealing with fraud by day and instructing Pilates by night is the typical life of one of the force’s main financial investigators.
Nicole McIntyre has been an investigator in the force’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) for more than 10 years, dealing with a wide variety of areas including money laundering, confiscation orders, restraint orders and account freezing.
And when not working on her investigations, Nicole also commits her time to teaching Pilates at the force's headquarters - having been an instructor for the past 15 years.
Before joining ECU, Nicole's career saw her work in a variety of different positions including as an analyst at Derbyshire Police, a drug advice worker in custody suites and a youth offending officer.
In 2019 she took over the responsibility for the Volume Fraud Team, where Nicole and her team deal with cases ranging from a £50 purchase of a mobile phone on eBay which never arrived, to multi million pound company mandate fraud.
A vast majority of the cases the team deals with have been referred to the force by Action Fraud UK – a national reporting centre for people to report to if they have been a victim of some form of fraud. Reports are then submitted to the relevant forces – based on location – for further investigation.
The team will view on average 100 reports a week which includes enquiries from officers across the force, referrals from Action Fraud and live calls about a fraud in progress.
Nicole said: “Fraud is the most common type of crime. You’re more likely to become a victim of fraud than anything else, which means we are dealing with a huge proportion of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s communities.
“Fraud evolves continually – there is always someone hoping to cash in on a crisis. We have seen nationally a number of scams off the back of the coronavirus pandemic – people have been defrauded out of large sums of money by paying for items such as face masks which don’t exist or are faulty and some scams are encouraging people to click on fake Gov.uk websites, texts and emails and donating to fake charities.
“I am a huge believer in preventing crime, disrupting the criminals and protecting the public through education. I along with my team were responsible for pushing the Don’t be Fooled campaign across the force area, it was aimed at educating people about the dangers of becoming a money mule. We delivered presentations to key staff at universities and other educational establishments about the campaign and how they can help us.
“Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) are behind a lot of the crimes we see. Offences are sometimes also linked to county lines where young or vulnerable individuals are used to move money OCGs have obtained through crime.
“We have to be ahead of the game and are continually learning about new trends including cryptocurrency and new banking platforms. No two days are the same – I enjoy the role I do and I am passionate about educating and preventing these offences.
“It’s a challenging and complex area and so I try to unwind by teaching Pilates at police headquarters after work. I have been an instructor for more than 15 years and initially got into it to prevent and back and shoulder injury.”