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Improving the UK’s response to economic crime
The NECC will coordinate and task the UK’s response to economic crime, harnessing intelligence and capabilities from across the public and private sectors to tackle economic crime in the most effective way.
It will jointly identify and prioritise the most appropriate type of investigations, whether criminal, civil or regulatory to ensure maximum impact. It will seek to maximise new powers, for example Unexplained Wealth Orders and Account Freezing Orders, across all agencies to tackle the illicit finance that funds and enables all forms of serious and organised crime.
The NECC will ensure that criminals defrauding British citizens, attacking UK industry and abusing UK financial services are effectively pursued; that the UK’s industries and government agencies know how to prevent economic crime; and that the UK’s citizens are better protected.
Agencies involved in the NECC
The NECC launched on 31 October 2018 with officers or representatives from the agencies below.
As the NECC evolves it will build wider partnerships across the public sector, with regulators and the private sector, particularly with those businesses at risk from economic crime.
Online Fraud Steering Group
The Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) is a public-private group focused on reducing the threat from online/cyber enabled-fraud in the UK.
Fraud is a serious and growing threat. It is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK, with online fraud estimated to account for 80% of all fraud.
The formation of the OFSG, which is co-chaired by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), UK Finance and techUK, follows on from a roundtable hosted by Government Ministers in April 2021.
This is the first time that the technology and banking & finance sectors, government and law enforcement have all come together to work collectively to tackle fraud. Such collaboration is critical in tackling fraud and the criminal networks that profit from it.
The OFSG has a strong 5-point mission:
- To make the UK the least attractive place for online fraudsters to operate.
- To involve all relevant sectors as required to collaborate and form targeted responses to prevent different types of fraud.
- To share information and refine our understanding of the complexities of online fraud.
- To boost the response from law enforcement, technology and banking sectors through improving communication flows.
- To enhance public communication and raise awareness to support consumers.
To progress the work and deliver these objectives, there is also an Online Fraud Delivery Group (OFDG) with various sub-groups of public and private bodies.
The OFSG will report to the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT).
Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce
The NECC includes the well established Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT). JMLIT is a partnership between law enforcement and the financial sector to exchange and analyse information relating to money laundering and wider economic threats.
The taskforce consists of:
- over 40 financial institutions
- the Financial Conduct Authority
- five law-enforcement agencies: the NCA, HMRC, the SFO, the City of London Police, and the Metropolitan Police Service.
JMLIT is an innovative model for public/private information sharing that has generated very positive results since its inception in 2015, and is considered internationally to be an example of best practice.
If the UK is to tackle high-end money laundering schemes which are most commonly complex, multi-institutional, and multi-jurisdictional, then a forum to share information on new typologies, existing vulnerabilities, and live tactical intelligence, is essential.
Successes of JMLIT
Since its inception, JMLIT has supported and developed over 950 law enforcement investigations which has directly contributed to over 280 arrests and the seizure or restraint of over £86m.
Through this collaboration, JMLIT private sector members have identified over 7,400 suspect accounts linked to money laundering activity, and commenced over 6,000 of their own internal investigations, while also continuing to develop and enhance their systems and controls for mitigating the threat of financial crime.
Financial sector-led Public-Private Threat Groups and time-limited Cells provide a platform for members to discuss current or emerging threats, and to identify innovative ways of collectively combating these threats. As a result, over 60 ‘JMLIT Alert’ reports have been shared with the wider financial industry to assist in focussing the identification and implementation of transactional monitoring system queries, in turn helping to mitigate the criminal methodologies used to exploit the UK’s financial system.
Future development of JMLIT
There has been a real willingness within the banking sector to share information through the JMLIT to combat economic crime. The NCA is working with colleagues from overseas law enforcement agencies to help inform the development of similar partnerships in a number of key partner jurisdictions around the world.
Continued commitment and support from both sides will allow us to work together to construct a new, wider, “whole system” approach, which will enable the private sector to act as a more effective first line of defence against economic crime.