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SIO Corner: Financial Investigation

This week we look at the benefits from seeking financial information as an investigative strategy

In this series, we preview sections of Blackstone's third edition of the Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook. This book provides invaluable insight about the essential skills and responsibilities that a senior investigating officer needs to manage serious crime investigations, from the initial response through to crime scene examination and investigative strategies. PoliceOracle.com readers can enjoy a 20 per cent discount on the book with our special offer code at the end of this article.

Financial Investigation

There are significant benefits from seeking financial information as an investigative strategy. This type of information can reveal details about a suspect or victim’s lifestyle, financial profile and the identification and use of significant transactions. It can reveal suspects and witnesses from evidence of them making financial transactions or being present at significant times and locations. Financial information can be developed and analysed to establish patterns and trends, fill intelligence gaps and contribute to intelligence profiles.

The assistance of a Financial Investigator (FI) should be considered in all major investigations. Financial data may assist in giving an indication of motive, debt or even financial stress. No one can exist without leaving behind some kind of ‘financial footprint’, be it the victim, suspect or witness.

This information can be used to identify:

Financial data may also have been created in one, two or all three areas of the Problem Analysis Triangle (see Chapter 2), ie victim, offender and location. For example, the creation of financial data by both the victim and offender at a certain location may be the evidence that links them together. Third parties who leave some financial data may also become useful witnesses.

Financial data may indicate motive, such as personal gain. Valuable lines of enquiry can be developed by identifying a credit/debit card used to top up a mobile phone, or examining till receipts in retail premises, or use of ATMs (automatic telling machines) to see who was at or near a crime scene (as suspect or witness).

Searches of premises or vehicles should include checks for financial information that may help build a picture of a person’s lifestyle or generate additional lines of enquiry (eg money suddenly going in or out of a bank account). There is a vast amount of information available in the financial world and investigators must have clear objectives when seeking it which are appropriate and beneficial to the enquiry. Vague and non-specific requests, such as ‘obtain a financial profile’, are not helpful.

Tournier Rules

Accredited Financial Investigators (AFI) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) are permitted to make pre-order enquiries to financial institutions under the Tournier Rules.18 These permit disclosure of information to law enforcement agencies that would otherwise be a breach of contract between the institution and their customers. Financial data may therefore be disclosed in the following circumstances:

This material is gathered by AFIs and is supplied for intelligence purposes only. If it is to be adduced into the evidential chain (including questioning during interview), a production order is required, hence the term ‘pre-order enquiries’.

About the authors

Former Detective Superintendent Tony Cook was a career detective and senior investigating officer with Greater Manchester Police until he retired in 2009. He is currently a PIP Level 3 and 4 Regional SIO Advisor with the National Crime Agency.

Andy Tattersall, formerly Detective Superintendent in Greater Manchester Police on the Force Major Incident Team, retired in 2007 after 33 years' service and became the first ever Support Staff SIO in charge of a new Homicide Support Unit.

Blackstone's Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook is designed specifically to meet the quick-reference needs of any officer conducting a serious investigation. The only portable step-by-step guide to the processes and actions involved in the role of a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), it explains all the relevant procedures and instructions integral to the position in a clear and accessible style.

Buy directly from the Oxford University Press website and enter the discount code ALPOLORH14 at the checkout to receive an exclusive 20% discount on the Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook.

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