DORSET'S Police and Crime Commissioner is appealing for help from residents ahead of action against a national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

It comes after a shocking investigation revealed staff at Action Fraud appeared to be misleading victims of fraud.

An undercover investigation by The Times found evidence that call handlers working for Action Fraud were trained to mislead victims of fraud into thinking their cases would be investigated when they knew most would never be looked at again.

Some managers were reported to have privately mocked people who lost money to fraudsters.

Action Fraud is overseen by the City Of London Police, but most of the call handling is outsourced to a private company called Concentrix. It conducted its own investigation following The Times’ report, and some staff members were suspended.

The Echo reported last month how West Dorset MP Sir Oliver Letwin and the police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill were to lobby for improvements to Action Fraud.

Now Mr Underhill has launched a survey in a bid to compile evidence from people in Dorset who have experienced issues with Action Fraud.

He said: "This was incredibly distressing, both to me, and to the many dedicated officers and staff in Dorset Police who work hard to combat this ever-growing problem.

"However, it is far from the first complaint I’ve heard about them. As the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) former lead for fraud, I listened to many heartbreaking stories from people who had lost tens of thousands of pounds – their life savings – only to feel ignored by Action Fraud, while officers working in this area expressed their own frustrations.

"Clearly, there’s something going badly wrong in the running of this organisation, and to my mind there has been for a long time.

"Now, I plan to do something about it by lobbying government for urgent improvements – and I want your help in doing this."

Mr Underhill has created a survey to find out about Dorset residents’ experiences of Action Fraud, whether they were satisfied with the outcome and the service they received, and what could have been done better.

He hopes this will give him a dossier of evidence he can take to ministers calling for improvements.

Mr Underhill added: "I need to know what experiences you’ve had, both good and bad, so I can lobby the government and try to make this better for everyone."

The survey is available at