Specialist and Economic Crime Command
Economic and Specialist Crime is a branch of the Specialist Crime Directorate within London's Metropolitan Police Service. The unit's main responsibility is to both investigate and take steps to prevent fraud, along with a wide range of other fraudulent crimes which require specialist knowledge and training to investigate. The unit was previously known as the Fraud Squad, or by its previous Specialist Operations designation, SO6.
Formed in 1946, the unit was originally known as Metropolitan and City Police Fraud Department or "C6 Branch". It was the first integrated cross-border, co-operative unit set up jointly between London's two police services; the City of London Police due to their expertise in business and stock market fraud, and the Metropolitan Police with their investigative experience.
Due to the increasing complexity of business fraud as time progressed, and hence the lessened chances of securing a successful prosecution, saw the implementation of the Serious Fraud Office in 1987. Due to the Serious Fraud Office making C6 obsolete, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police reverted to having their own Fraud Squads. The MPS' was then called SO6. Staffed by about 140 detectives, specialised teams within the Squad included the Commercial Crimes Intelligence Bureau, a Financial Investigations Unit, the Fraud Prevention Office, a Surveillance Unit, a Crime Management Unit and a fledgling Computer Crime Unit.
In October 2000, the Fraud Squad was renamed Economic and Specialist Crime as part of the Specialist Crime Directorate, and its remit was expanded substantially to cover a wider range of financial and economic crime and fraud. Several other autonomous units, such as the Arts and Antiquities Squad, were merged with the new unit. The Money Laundering Investigation Team (MLIT) formed in 2003 has a remit to deal with high-level money laundering, and also are active in removing substantial amounts of criminal cash from the organised criminal networks working in and around London.
The Economic and Specialist Crime OCU is made up of several teams and sub-units:
- Police National E-Crime Unit, The
- Fraud Teams
- Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit
- Money Laundering Investigation Team
- Financial Investigation Development Units
- Specialist Crime Operations Team
- Stolen Vehicle Unit
- Arts and Antiques Unit
- Computer Crime Unit
- Wildlife Crime Unit
- Extradition and International Assistance Unit
- Criminal Justice Protection Unit
- Regional Asset Recovery Team
- "Metropolitan Police Service - Specialist Crime Directorate". Met.police.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-08.