Commissioner Funds Devices to Protect Vulnerable Residents from Fraud

Cheshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) now has more state-of-the-art call blocker devices ready to be installed in homes across the county thanks to Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer’s Police Innovation Fund.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer and PC Jim Day with a trueCall device

The trueCall devices are designed to protect vulnerable residents from fraud by preventing scammers from getting through to them.

The Police Innovation Fund enables officers, staff and volunteers from Cheshire Constabulary to apply for funding from the Commissioner to develop and launch new projects which will have a positive impact on policing. PC Jim Day, the ECU’s Financial Abuse Safeguarding and Prevention Officer, applied to the Fund after seeing how effective the trueCall devices were in protecting vulnerable residents from scam attempts.

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said “I was delighted when PC Jim Day applied to my Police Innovation Fund and shared his idea about the call blocker devices, it is great that the fund has been used to provide the additional units and protect vulnerable residents.

“Protecting vulnerable and at-risk residents is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and I am confident that the technology secured by the Economic Crime Unit will contribute to this.

“I would like to thank PC Jim Day and the team for their dedication in protecting Cheshire’s communities, their work should be highly commended.”

The only people who can get through to homes protected by a trueCall device are those on a recognised caller list. All other callers can be instructed via voicemail to phone a trusted family member – acting as a screen for incoming calls – to tell them who they are and why they want to speak to the vulnerable person.

If the family member is subsequently happy for the caller to be added to the recognised caller list, they can quickly do so online. The vulnerable person’s family can also see details of all of their incoming and outgoing calls online.

PC Jim Day said “Fraud has become the crime that UK citizens are most likely to fall victim to. Over-the-phone fraudsters are not small-time criminals. They are part of larger organised crime groups who use a range of tactics to trick and defraud people they call and try to get as much money from them as they can.

“At the Economic Crime Unit, we are doing everything we can to identify offenders and bring them to justice, as well as to prevent further offences from being committed. With the devices blocking scam and nuisance calls, there have been no repeat fraud offences involving vulnerable residents we have given them to.

“We have already installed trueCall devices across Cheshire following initial funding from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and I’d like to thank Commissioner John Dwyer for funding more of these game-changing devices, which will be rolled out to those who are most vulnerable to this ever-growing form of crime.”

If you know of any vulnerable people – particularly elderly people with dementia and previous over-the-phone fraud victims who need to be safeguarded – please get in touch with PC Jim Day at economic.crime.unit@cheshire.police.uk to arrange for one of the trueCall devices to be installed in their home.

To find out more about the Police Innovation Fund, visit www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-the-commissioner-does/commissioning-and-funding/community-funding/police-innovation-fund/