Local police forces will no longer deal directly with fraud cases from April, 2013.
Instead reports will be passed on to Action Fraud – a specialist fraud reporting unit set up in 2009 and run by the government’s National Fraud Authority (NFA).
The Metropolitan Police is the latest force to sign up to the scheme, bringing the total of regional forces currently joined to 36 and the remainder of forces expected to be on board by the end of March.
It is hoped Action Fraud will make it easier to secure convictions by allowing investigators to link seemingly unrelated incidents from around the country.
Head of Action Fraud Steve Proffitt, said: “Action Fraud has now been operational for over three years, and in that time we have attracted over 1 million visitors to our website and helped over 300,000 people deal with the serious consequences of fraud and internet crime.
“As the one-stop-shop for advice and reporting of fraud and internet crime, Action Fraud has taken over 126,000 crime reports on behalf of the police. Providing this central reporting hub enables crime data from across the country to be linked though analysis, with the output helping police to act on this intelligence and catch more fraudsters. It is important to report any experience of fraud or internet crime, as this can help other people from becoming victims themselves.”
Home Office Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne added: “Fraud is not a victimless crime. It significantly affects people’s lives so it is vital that we take action.
“I am pleased that the Metropolitan Police are now going to start recording fraud using Action Fraud. This national service will not only improve our intelligence gathering capacity, but will also save forces time.”
Latest figures from the NFA suggest the annual cost of fraud to the UK economy to be around £73 billion.