Profession to help police with enquiries

The Metropolitan Police Service has asked accountants to volunteer their
skills as New Scotland Yard battles against increasingly complex financial

Speaking to an audience of CIMA accountants, commander David Johnston, the
head of the MPS economic and specialist crime unit, said the complex schemes
used by criminals required specialist financial skills which were not readily
available within the police force.

‘Complex financial legislation and methods used by financial criminals mean
that we have to search for skills,’ Johnston said. ‘Accountants have plenty to

The MPS has launched a ‘special constable’ programme to recruit the financial
skills it requires. Accountants are sworn in and called up to work on cases as

The need for accounting skills within the police is becoming increasingly
vital as the cost of financial crime soars to £40bn per year. The MPS fears this
figure will increase as criminals become more sophisticated and the force is
stretched after the London July bombings.

The economic unit regularly calls in the forensic units of accounting firms
as its own staff initially only receive a six-month training course in finance,
but this may be increasingly difficult as budgets are stretched.

‘When accounts are opened up in an investigation we want to have the right
people around to give them to,’ said Johnston.

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