Soca publishes SAR annual report

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LONDON - The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has published its second annual report of the Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) regime. The report shows a market improvement in the SARs regime and it highlights a range of successful results from law enforcement over the 12 months to end-September 2008.

The main improvements include the fact that SAR are now an aspect of all law enforcement work, and they have been used to assist and initiate investigations into money laundering, phishing and other fraud, tax evasion, organised prostitution, burglary and theft, which has also led to a number of arrests. The value of restraints orders obtained where SARs featured in the investigation was at least £192 million; the value of confiscated orders where SARs featured was £110 million, and the value of cash forfeitures where SARs were used was £26 million.

The report also highlighted the fact that the quality of reports has improved, with paper reporting continuing to fall, leading to efficiency gains. The UK Financial Intelligence Unit has also developed a more targeted approach to dialogues with the reporting sector, to further improve the quality of reporting.

Looking forward, Soca intends to continue to improve. The project to improve IT management to use information more effectively, the SAR Transformation programme, has also moved forward. A procurement process to select an IT vendor was initiated towards the end of the reporting year, and the new IT system is hoped to be in place by 2010.

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