Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Mr David Veness, Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police Service

  In answer to the two supplementary questions included in your letter dated 28 January 2002, I offer the following responses:

What special skills and/or qualifications are required for the investigation, disruption and prosecution of paramilitary fundraising activity, and confiscation of the resulting funds?

  Required skills include:

    —  Broad and detailed understanding of criminal and terrorist legislation including powers to access "special procedure material" and "excluded material".

    —  Expert knowledge of disclosure issues.

    —  Developed ability to handle sensitive intelligence simultaneously as potential evidence.

    —  Experience in conducting investigations against paramilitary and organised crime targets.

    —  Ability to co-ordinate cross-border and multi-agency enquiries to disrupt the fundraising activity at the most effective level while maintaining the integrity of the intelligence and sources, and the future evidential requirements.

    —  Motivation and resilience whilst conducting the investigation with a creative approach to problem solving.

    —  Ability to express and explain clearly complex ideas to different audiences.


  The current Financial Investigator training in England and Wales is being developed for the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Bill (POCB).

  The POCB will create a new statutory role of "accredited financial investigator", which will be fulfilled specifically by civilians, or in the case of HMCE a non-sworn officer. All powers contained in the POCB will be available to Constables, sworn officers and accredited financial investigators.

  There are distinct areas developing in the field of financial investigation and the proposed modular training has been designed to reflect this.

  A foundation Financial Intelligence course consisting of:

    —  Source handling and intelligence dissemination

    —  Disclosure and Public Interest Immunity issues

    —  ECHR considerations and risk assessments

    —  Accessing information by court orders obtained under relevant legislation.

    —  Use of open source material.

  Those who have completed this course will be listed at NCIS as being accredited to seek information from the financial community.

  Accredited officers would then be able to complete specialist courses dealing with:

    —  Confiscation

    —  Fraud

    —  Money-laundering

    —  Cheque and credit card fraud

    —  Financial intelligence development

Are sufficient people with these skills available to the police in its investigative work?

  The numbers of officers fully trained (NCIS listed) and dedicated to financial investigation varies from force to force. There are a limited number of qualified Special Branch officers employed throughout the country. However, the Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB), which holds a national co-ordinating and advising role for terrorist financial investigations, employs a dedicated Financial Investigation and Special Access Unit (FISAC) and interacts with partners in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Special Branches throughout Great Britain.

  Most forces employ a dedicated financial unit, depending on requirement, mainly employed on criminal investigation.

  Joint working and effective partnerships are essential to combating terrorist financing. This is particularly the case in the current context of smuggling and contraband activity as outlined in our main evidence. The specialist skills of police intelligence officers, crime scene investigators and customs officers make the need for joint operations essential. Precedents exist for effective joint financial investigation involving multiple police Special Branch and CID officers working with Customs officers.

8 February 2002

Please note that question numbers 136 to 209 relate to oral evidence given to the Committee in private and are not printed.

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