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A project aimed at raising awareness of fraud amongst elderly and vulnerable people has been launched in the force area.
Operation REPEAT will see care and health care professionals who deal with elderly and vulnerable people on a daily basis receiving training on the different types of fraud offences to raise their awareness so they can go on to deliver the information to their clients.
Fraud offences are one of the fastest growing areas and the majority of people who fall victim to these offences are unfortunately the vulnerable.
The project, which has been funded by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner, Rupert Matthews, Cadent and Anglian Water, delivered its first training session in Market Harborough last week.
Operation REPEAT, which stands for Reinforce Elderly Persons Education at All Times, was devised by a former Lincolnshire Police crime prevention officer.
The project has previously been rolled out in Lincolnshire, North Wales and Northamptonshire and has now trained over 2500 health and care professionals in each area which have provided fraud protect advice to vulnerable members of their communities.
The project is based on delivering messages on train the trainer basis with the intention that those that are trained will spread the messaging and provide advice, guidance to the people they come in contact with.
At the local launch last week (Tuesday 7 February), 28 health care workers and professionals from Home Instead received the training.
Paul Wenlock from the force’s economic crime unit, said: “Through funding from the PCC, Cadent and Anglian Water, we are pleased that we are able to utilise this project in our force area. Training is delivered by experienced trainers during a 3-hour session to groups of between 10 – 20 people drawn from both paid and voluntary positions within both public and private sector. The one to one approach has proved very successful.
“By using Operation REPEAT it helps us to raise awareness without abstracting officers and staff. The project aims to train more than 240 people over the next year and a lot more in the second year.”
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Rani Mahal said: “Preventing fraud is a key priority for all forces and I am determined to help in whatever way I can so that people are able to protect themselves from these unscrupulous criminals.
“Fraud now accounts for almost 40 per cent of all crime and can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on its victims, eroding confidence and trust and increasing fear of crime. With many of these crimes being undertaken remotely, criminals have an infinite number of victims to target which makes information and awareness one of our best allies.
“Every effort has to be spent into stopping more of these crimes from happening in the first place while also ensuring our force has the necessary specialist resources to bring offenders to justice.”
Bethanie Kennedy, Anglian Waters Customer Services Partnership Manager, said: “We want all of our customers to feel safe in their own home which is why we’re incredibly proud to be working in partnership with Operation REPEAT and Cadent on this project.
"Often bogus callers will claim to be from the ‘water board’ – even though this organisation hasn’t existed for over 40 years. We want our customers to know they can sign up for our Free Priority Services Register, which provides services such as our password scheme to add an extra layer of protection against bogus callers. To find out more or sign up, visit www.anglianwater.co.uk/priority or call our Priority Services team on 0800 232 1951.”
Reg Burrell, Director of Operation REPEAT, said: “Prevention through education is the key to combating this type of crime and the funding we have received from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Cadent and Anglian Water is enabling us to help keep those most vulnerable safe from these callous criminals.”