The National Crime Agency (NCA) has published its Annual Report on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) covering the period from October 2014 to September 2015 (the Period). The UK's NCA is the enforcement agency tasked with gathering, processing, analysing and disseminating information relevant to financial crime in the UK. The Fraud Intelligence Unit (FIU) is a division of the NCA and is responsible for the receipt of SARs.

Key statistics

  • The number of SARs during the Period rose by 7.82% on the previous year to 381,882.
  • The number of consent SARs rose slightly from 14,155 to 14,678. Of these, the number refused fell from 1,632 to 1,374.
  • The total sum restrained by law enforcement partners relating to consent requests in the Period was £43,079,328, showing a dramatic reduction from £141,517,652 during the previous year. The NCA states that the previous year's figure was skewed by five large cases with a cumulative value of £119m. The total figure of assets denied to criminals as a result of consent requests (refused and granted) during the Period is £46,375,449.
  • The number of financial intelligence requests made by the UKFIU to international partners increased by 32.52% on the previous year, from 1,359 to 1,801.
  • A total of 269 'suspect based' SARs were fast-tracked to police forces over the Period (SARs which law enforcement had requested early sight of relating to specific individuals).
  • The UKFIU disseminated 72 SARs relating to politically exposed persons during the Period.
  • The largest submitter of SARs was the banking sector, making up 83.39% of all SARs received. From the remainder, 4% came from building societies, 3% from money service businesses, 3% from other credit institutions, 1% from accountants & tax advisors and 1% from legal professionals.
  • Over the Period, 40.3% of consent requests were dealt with without referral to law enforcement for advice and the average turnaround for responses to reporters' requests was 4.7 days, an increase from 4.3 days the previous year. The NCA believes this is due to an increase in the volume of cases, an increase in case complexity and a low standard of requests.