If we go back a few years, the only time we would have had any contact with those involved in law enforcement was when a member of our regulated community had done something wrong.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen too often. But when it did, there were plenty of challenges and barriers. There were few opportunities to build up trust beyond the specific case we were dealing with.
The past 18 months has seen a major change in the way regulators interact with law enforcement agencies. The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) was set up as part of the National Crime Agency. The intention was to bring together law enforcement and justice agencies, government departments, regulatory bodies and the private sector with a shared objective of driving down serious organised economic crime, protecting the public and safeguarding the prosperity and reputation of the UK as a financial centre.
A key element of that was a desire to promote better quality information-sharing. Having access to the right information at the right time, with the appropriate structures, controls and culture in place to facilitate this, is vital for us all.
People want and expect law enforcement agencies and private sector firms to stop economic crime, but they also want to know how and why their information is being used. They want to know that it is used responsibly and kept safely, and that they have redress where there is misuse.
So we’ve been working together on the mechanisms for sharing information. This has included widening the access to existing to intelligence sharing arrangements that can help all parties in their enquiries.
A complaint has often been that those that report intelligence often don’t know how it was used. This has been improved through initiatives such as the UKFIU SARs In Action Magazine, which gives insight into how just one piece of information can be vital to law enforcement in combating criminal activity. We’ve also seen law enforcement agencies reach out on issues such as helping combat Modern Slavery.
These and other initiatives represent a major step forward. We believe that by building a closer relationship across the sectors and agencies, we can all help combat crime.