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Singapore police force taps OCBC transaction data to fight financial crime

Source: OCBC

Law enforcement agencies will get a boost in their crime detection abilities through a collaboration between the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and OCBC Bank.

“Project POET” (Production Orders: Electronic Transmission), which automates the process of data retrieval, will enable law enforcement agencies in Singapore, starting with the SPF, to obtain critical data from OCBC Bank for the purposes of investigation in a fraction of the time that is needed today. The prompt conveyance of banking information will enhance crime detection, and enable SPF to solve financial crime cases more efficiently.

“Project POET” was announced by Mr. T Raja Kumar, Deputy Secretary (International & Training), Ministry of Home Affairs, at the opening of the two-day Financial Crime Seminar organised by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), held this morning. Mr Kumar said: “As financial transactions continue to shift increasingly into the fast moving digital space, it is crucial for law enforcement authorities to be able to access relevant banking information quickly for their investigations. We should embrace technology and leverage predictive analytics to allow banks and authorities to work together to connect the dots and do so quickly, to spot suspicious trends and patterns and move in fast and effectively to arrest malicious activities. It is clear that criminals and terrorists will continue to become more sophisticated in their modus operandi, as well as in their ability to use technology to try to beat the system. So we, too, must take advantage of and harness the latest technologies to enable ourselves to effectively detect and disrupt such criminal and terrorist networks. I am heartened that we are moving together in this direction.”

OCBC Bank is leading the way with technology and process automation to shorten the turnaround time in retrieving banking information for law enforcement agencies. Previously, the process was mostly manual and taxing on manpower, especially when the volume of information requested was extensive. With “Project POET”, information that previously took between 10 days to three months to process will now be available to law enforcement agencies within one or two working days.

In addition, “Project POET” enhances Singapore’s Anti-Money Laundering Risk management regime through the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics. OCBC Bank is able to use artificial intelligence and transaction link analysis tools to monitor and identify hidden relations and suspicious activities by specific customers or group of customers. The monitoring and in-depth analysis of suspicious accounts will strengthen the sense-making capabilities of both OCBC Bank and Singapore’s financial intelligence unit, the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office, CAD.

OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Legal and Regulatory Compliance, Ms Loretta Yuen, said: “With the ever-increasing speed in which cyber criminals are operating, law enforcement agencies often need information quickly in order to fight crime effectively. As a responsible business organisation, OCBC Bank worked on this solution which not only helps make the process faster and easier on our end, but also helps law enforcement agencies do their work better and faster. Additionally, we are also able to turn the volume, variety and variability of our data into insights to help sharpen the accuracy of our work and allow us to better prioritise it, which will in turn help in combating financial crime and mitigate money-laundering risks.”

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