Posted on 4th March 2014
Kent Police has executed a number of warrants at addresses across the country on 4 March 2014 in relation to an investigation of charity fraud, following the seizure of cash at the Port of Dover on 23 December 2012.
Eight people have been arrested.
Two men aged 30 and 39 from Derby, a 36 year old man from Harlow, two men, aged 29 and 37 from east London, a 31 year old man from south-east London, a 35 year old man from Dewsbury and a 43 year old from Huddersfield are all are being questioned at police stations around the country.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Hogben of Kent Police said: ‘We have arrested a number of people across the country as part of an ongoing investigation into the fraudulent use of funds from four UK based charities. Our investigation aims to ensure the funds given by the public reach their intended destination and are not used in connection with criminal activity.
‘We will continue to ensure any large quantities of cash being transported through Kent’s ports is checked against its purpose. It is now common practice for charities to transfer aid donations electronically, for auditing purposes, transparency, and to mitigate against theft of cash.
‘We are working with our partners around the country to ensure money intended to help those in need in Syria is not used for criminal activity or in the terrorist arena. It is imperative that the public has confidence in the charities they support and in the money they are donating being used for the purpose it is intended.
‘We want to hear from anyone who has information relating to the fraudulent use of charity funds. Anyone who has information should call Kent Police’s hotline on 07964 132889.
‘We advise the public to use the Online Register of charities on the Charity Commission website before donating, to check whether an organisation is a legitimate registered charity.’
The Charity Commission, one of Kent Police’s partners, has issued Safer Giving advice on its website http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news/safer-giving-advice-for-syria-080413/ for the public wishing to fundraise for or donate to charities assisting those affected by the Syria Crisis.
The Commission advises those raising funds or donating to give to charities which have experience of providing humanitarian assistance in high risk, insecure and dangerous environments and which have ongoing relief operations in Syria or surrounding countries, such as the Disasters Executive Committee (DEC) or its member charities.
The Charity Commission has also published a number of Regulatory Alerts for charities and charitable appeals responding to the Syria Crisis, the most recent of which was published on 24th February 2014 http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our-regulatory-work/how-we-regulate-charities/alerts-and-warnings/syria-and-aid-convoys/ .The alert provides advice to charities to safeguard themselves from being abused for non-charitable purposes and reminds them of their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law, particularly in relation to involvement in convoys and delivery of humanitarian aid.