Mike – Engagement
How I got here
I am a manager of one of four Engagement teams in the UK Financial Intelligence Unit. I moved back to London twenty years ago, after attending university in the United States, and to be quite honest fell into a data entry desk-based job at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) which was a precursor to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). My first role was actually in the UKFIU!
I’ve moved about the agency a bit since then but most of my time has been spent at the UKFIU, building a deep understanding of the unit and how it operates.
The work has been varied and I’ve spent time managing lots of different teams . There is opportunity to move about and do different and varied roles within the unit, which keeps it interesting but, as cliched as it sounds, it really is the people that make the place. It is a great place to work.
My role and how I protect the public
The Engagement team that I manage is the SARs Exploitation Team (SET), which is responsible for dealing directly with law enforcement agencies.
We show them how to exploit the information that is contained within Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and how to use that information to go and arrest ‘bad guys’, protect vulnerable people, seize illegal assets, enabling them to use the tools they currently have at their disposal to do these crucial activities that protect the public better.
On a great day
A great day for me is anytime I receive feedback that a tangible law enforcement result has been achieved as a direct result of the training my team.
My officers have responsibility for geographic regions and regularly liaise with their police and government counterparts in those regions. Part of that liaison involves gathering feedback on how SAR data is being used.
When we hear stories of how SARs have led to the arrests of criminals, the seizure of criminal assets or the protection of vulnerable people, it makes all of the hard work that we do worthwhile. It also spurs us all on to continue to spread the knowledge of how the data in SARs can be such a unique and effective tool.
On a typical day
As a manager, I am responsible for making sure my team is on track to fulfil our mandate of providing quality engagement with law enforcement partners to increase the exploitation of SAR data.
I make sure our team has all the tools they need to do their jobs properly and that the appropriate training is in place. When necessary, I also accompany the team in their engagements out in the field, delivering our training and making sure law enforcement are as supported as possible in their exploitation of SAR data.
As a UKFIU engagement officer, I also often represent the UKFIU in regional and national meetings and conferences. A typical day for me might entail delivering key messages to private sector or law enforcement partners at a conference in the morning and then visiting a specific law enforcement partner in the afternoon to discuss local SAR issues with them.
The challenge to increase the exploitation of SAR data is unrelenting, but no day is ever the same and the rewards when SARs lead to positive law enforcement outcomes make all of the effort worthwhile.