National Crime Agency to revamp systems for banks to provide intel on organised crime

Written by Sam Trendall on 14 June 2022 in News
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Law-enforcement entity seeks partner to help deliver programme to replace ageing platforms

Credit: PxHere

The National Crime Agency is to upgrade data systems in a bid to improve its ability to use intelligence on potential organised crime activity provided by banks.

The NCA, in concert with the Home Office, is currently engaged in delivering a long-term programme to revamp the use of suspicious activity reports (SARs). The reform scheme was set out in the government’s 2019 Economic Crime Plan, which outlined an intention to “ensure we have the right information… [to help] ensure we have the right information”.

SARs – which can be filed using an online service – are typically provided by banks or other financial services providers, and are intended to alert authorities to possible money laundering or the provision of funding for terrorism. Reports can also be made by the likes of solicitors, accountants, or estate agents – or by any other individual who suspects or knows of economic crime taking place.

The National Data Exploitation Capability programme run by the NCA is seeking to appoint a “data and technology delivery partner” to assist with the “development and replacement of end-of-life systems” that currently support authorities’ processing of SARs and the intelligence they provide.


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“Volumes of reporting are increasing, and the current systems used for reporting, processing and analysis are reaching end of life; new systems are therefore required,” the contract notice said. “The authority needs support to develop its capability with greater scale, pace of delivery and innovation. This requirement is for a supplier to provide resources with the requisite skills and specialist services to support NCA in the designing, building of tools and platforms and, supporting services, up to and including SECRET GSC (government security classification). The NCA also requires the replacement of end-of-life applications which, coupled with improved ways of working, will make them more effective and efficient at tackling economic crime.”

New systems will use APIs to connect with financial institutions, and a portal will allow for intelligence to be provided to law-enforcement entities and a range of government departments.

Bids for the project are open until midnight on 24 June, and the NCA hopes to appoint a supplier to a two-year contract by the start of September. The agency did not provide any information on its budget for the work.

On its website, the NCA said that SARs provide “information and intelligence from the private sector that would otherwise not be visible to law enforcement”.

“The value of SARs is wide-reaching,” it added. “SARs intelligence has been instrumental in locating sex offenders, tracing murder suspects, identifying subjects suspected of being involved in watching indecent footage of children online and showing the movement of young women being trafficked into the UK to work in the sex industry. Some SARs provide immediate opportunities to stop crime and arrest offenders, others help uncover potential criminality that needs to be investigated, while others provide intelligence useful in the future. All contribute to the UK’s strategic threat assessment.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

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