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Singapore Police Force and OCBC automate data retrieval process to solve financial crimes

A new automated data retrieval process will allow for a more efficient and quicker course of solving financial crimes. This automated process is an upgraded solution for detecting and apprehending criminal and terrorist networks, with such illicit operations becoming more complex today.

This new process will be jointly administered by The Singapore Police Force and OCBC

Project POET

The two agencies have collaborated under Project POET (Production Orders: Electronic Transmission). The automation of this process will allow for law enforcement agencies to retrieve banking information required for investigations within a shorter length of time.

This project was announced at the opening of the two-day Financial Crime Seminar organised by the Association of Banks in Singapore.

Mr T Raja Kumar, Deputy Secretary (International & Training) for the Ministry of Home Affairs 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”.

With more financial transactions moving into the digital space, it is imperative for law enforcement agencies to have the fastest access to information and data which are required for investigations. This new process will allow for banks and law enforcement agencies to work closely together and as efficiently as possible.

In an earlier OpenGov article, it reported that MAS was working with a group of banks in Singapore to build a joint KYC (Know your customer) utility to counter money laundering and terrorism financing. The article reported that criminals over the cyberspace are constantly finding new and creative ways to commit financial crimes. Mr Leng, Assistant Managing Director of the Monetary of Singapore (MAS) highlighted onboarding and transaction monitoring as two areas which could use better forms of technology to assist financial systems in detecting these crimes.

How has the process been improved?

The previous process administered by between the police force and OCBC required a manual retrieving of banking information to be delivered to law enforcement officers. With an extensive volume of information at hand, it was dependent on manpower to get the work down as quickly as possible. Adding more people for the monitoring of transactions is not sustainable for the long run. Project POET will allow for law enforcement agencies to retrieve data at a faster rate and with less labour intensity.

This next generation automated data retrieval system will be useful in detecting malicious activities that are hard for humans to detect.

The previous data retrieval process took between 10 days to 3 months. With Project POET, it will now be shortened to within one or two working days.

This technology, worked on by OCBC, will also aid in improving Singapore’s Anti-Money Laundering Risk management regime. With the employment of artificial intelligence and transaction link analysis tools, OCBC will be able to monitor and identify hidden relations and track any hidden or suspicious activities of customers.

“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”, said OCBC’s head of group legal and regulatory compliance Loretta Yuen.

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