Australian Institute of Criminology

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The role of financial investigation in tackling organised crime: Findings from England and Wales

12 September 2012

Dr Rick Brown

Until recently, the focus of financial investigation has been on recovering assets from those convicted of organised crime. However, with the growth of financial investigation as a profession in the United Kingdom, following significant investment by law enforcement agencies, it is now being recognised as a valuable tool that can be used in a variety of ways to investigate organised crime.

This presentation will report the findings from a study of financial investigation in England and Wales. The study examined 60 cases in which financial investigation was used in a conviction for organised crime-related offences, prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). This included qualitative interviews with 149 financial investigators, investigating officers and prosecutors. The presentation will explore how financial investigation is used in the United Kingdom throughout the investigation and evidence gathering process. It will also examine some of the weaknesses in the current system that would benefit from being addressed.

Dr Rick Brown

Dr Rick Brown is Deputy Director (Research) with the Australian Institute of Criminology and has worked on criminal justice-related research for over 20 years. He has previously worked as a researcher for the Probation Service and for the Home Office in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining the AIC in 2011, he worked for 10 years as Managing Director of Evidence Led Solutions, a research consultancy specialising in community safety and crime reduction. During this time, he was also a government advisor on crime reduction for three regional government offices in England.

Rick has worked extensively on issues of policing and organised crime. This has included evaluating the work of the (former) National Criminal Intelligence Service and research on regional responses to organised crime in England and Wales. He was also responsible for a national review of witness protection in the United Kingdom that resulted in structural changes in the way witness protection was delivered. In 2011, Rick completed a major study on the uses of financial investigation to tackle organised crime for the Home Office for England and Wales.