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Financial tools against crime

Financial investigation to undergo the same cultural transformation as forensics – a tool once misunderstood which has, over time, become a standard policing tool, says a paper by the defence and security think-tank RUSI (Royal United Services Institute). While it is a well-accepted adage in policing that ‘every touch leaves a trace’, this concept is less accepted when it comes to financial footprints, writes Helena Wood in a September occasional paper for the Whitehall-based think-tank on UK Government’s approach to tackling serious and organised crime through financial tools.

Financial investigation techniques against serious and organised crime are frequently misunderstood and underestimated by being assigned solely as a tool for tackling ‘financial crimes’ (such as money laundering, fraud and corruption) or as a route to asset recovery, undervaluing their role in the broader policing response to serious and organised crime more generally, she argues.

The international drug trafficker buying a plane ticket to Spain to arrange shipment of his next consignment; the people trafficker leasing a property to use as a safe house to keep his victims; the cyber fraudster purchasing computer equipment with which to commit his crimes. What do all these disparate activities have in common? They leave an indelible financial footprint. ‘Every transaction leaves a trace‘, a vulnerability for exploitation by law enforcement, through financial investigation. A refreshed UK Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is called for.

For the paper in full visit


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