Call-centre workers employed by City of London police are being trained to mislead fraud victims into thinking their cases will be investigated, according to an investigation by The Times.
The undercover operation suggests staff are told not to inform victims that most cases are dismissed by employees or computer algorithms and never looked at again.
Fraud victims who contact police are often referred to the national Action Fraud service whose operation is outsourced to US firm Concentrix.
A Times reporter who worked undercover in the call centre found staff were coached into misleading callers to believe they were talking to a police officer.
Managers sometimes referred to victims as “morons”, “screwballs” and “psychos” and claimed police officers “do absolutely everything in their power to avoid” investigating fraud.
Call-centre employees chose whether a victim’s case was filed as a crime report or the less serious information report, which was unlikely to receive a follow-up.
According to The Times, crime reports were likely to be passed to fraud investigators only if there was a high chance of a suspect being caught.
As few as one-in-50 fraud cases lead to a suspect being caught, despite fraud making up more than a third of all crimes in England and Wales and in 2018 thear there were an estimated 3.6 million incidents of fraud.
Responding to the investigation, home secretary Priti Patel said she is “very concerned” by the allegations and she has written to City of London Police for an urgent update.
City of London Police and Concentrix say they are conducting investigations and four staff members have been suspended.
A Concentrix spokesman said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously. A number of alleged isolated incidents have been raised which are not a representation of the operating culture of our organisation.”