Transforming suspicious activity reporting to combat financial and cybercrime


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The use of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) is an integral part of how the UK tackles money laundering. These were first introduced in 1986 by the Drug Trafficking Offenses Act and have evolved through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2019. Organizations can make a request for information to the National Crime Agency if they believe it is being used as part of a money laundering campaign. However, over the years the effectiveness of requests for information has been questioned. For example, its shortcomings included an ineffective STR database, weak tracking of enforcement results, inadequate training, and lack of government support for the system. It has therefore been suggested that STRs are underutilized by law enforcement agencies, and that law enforcement agencies continue to have poor management information on how STRs are used.

To address this concern, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from UWE Bristol is working with Synalogik Innovations to overcome gaps in the UK’s suspicious activity reporting system, in collaboration with Cardiff University and the University of Reading. The multidisciplinary team of academics includes Phil Legg (Professor of Cyber ​​Security, UWE), Sam Bourton (Professor of Law, UWE), as well as Nic Ryder (Professor of Financial Crime, Cardiff University) and Dr Henry Hillman (Professor of financial crime, Cardiff University). in Law, University of Reading). The team has a long history of working with Synalogik Innovations in the area of ​​identifying and mitigating the financing of terrorism and organized crime groups through the use of technology. In this latest Innovate UK project, the team will explore how natural language processing can facilitate the creation of SARs, as well as the verification of information presented and the identification of additional supporting information, using the developed SCOUT platform by Synalogik Innovations. With enhanced search capability to facilitate the creation and reporting of SARs, we aim to provide a more efficient approach that can help reduce the time it takes to understand and respond to threats in our society.

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