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Law enforcement - Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit

The UK Cards Association is committed to protecting the security of the card payments system. A priority is tackling organised criminal activity. To achieve this, through The UK Cards Association, the industry funds a specialist policing team - the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) to stamp out organised payments fraud. The Unit is comprised of officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators.

The main objective of the DCPCU is to investigate, target, arrest and seek the successful prosecution of offenders responsible for organised cheque and payment card crimes.

Since its formation in April 2002, the banking industry has invested around £4 million per year in the Unit’s operation. Its creation emerged in response to a rapid growth in payment card crime between 1999 and 2001, which experts attributed to the growth of organised crime in this area and the lack of a dedicated police investigatory capacity.

The Unit is headed by a Detective Chief Inspector and brings together officers and civilian staff from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police forces. In addition, payments industry knowledge and expertise is provided by industry secondees. Although London-based, investigations are nationwide, targeting the organised criminal gangs responsible for payment related fraud.

Since its inception in 2002, the DCPCU has:

  • Achieved £479 million in savings from reduced fraud activity
  • Recovered 681,000 compromised card numbers
  • Secured 502 convictions on fraud related matters

A wider perspective on its impact is the link to serious and organised crime. Investigations by the Unit have clearly established that a significant proportion of fraud is committed by criminal gangs which have strong links to other types of serious criminality, including people trafficking, drugs and violent crime.

More information about the DCPCU can be found at

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