The City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU) has launched a video highlighting the damaging consequences for UK companies and individuals of engaging in corrupt business activities. The short six-minute video entitled “Consequences begin at home” has been created as a tool that can be used by corporates to educate their employees as part of their anti-corruption compliance programmes. The video is available here.
The video shows a single actor playing various characters touched by corruption – the bribing employee, his distraught wife, a senior executive of the company and ultimately the presiding criminal judge convicting the employee. Whilst it does not focus on the content of the Bribery Act, it instead demonstrates the impact that a corruption investigation could have on companies and individuals who ignore the Act and break the law.
The video will be followed up by a ‘reporting template’ on how companies and individuals can report any bribery and corruption suspicions. A confidential telephone number operated 24/7 is provided at the end of the video clip: + 44 (207) 601 6969. The OACU also notes in the accompanying explanatory notes to the video that it will in due course also be providing details of the anti-corruption training packages offered by ‘The Academy’, the OACU’s Economic Crime Directorate’s training facility.
The OACU is wholly funded by the Department for International Development and has a global remit to investigate allegations of UK companies and individuals involved in Bribery in developing countries overseas. Part of its mandate is also to engage with commercial organisations; the OACU stresses on its website its eagerness to assist in regard to clarifying questions about the Bribery Act, its practicable application as well as offering crime prevention advice.
In promoting the video Commander Steve Head, ACPO National Coordinator for Economic Crime, is quoted as saying: “Many of you may have heard it said that corruption is a ‘victimless crime’; I can assure you it isn’t. It differs from most other crimes in that most of the victims are abroad and are often unaware of the offence. But, the corrosive effect that this type of offence can have on society and on the rule of law cannot be underestimated. We regularly engage with our International partners and colleagues assisting them in the pursuit of offenders.”
The video short is a helpful and free training tool for companies to use as part of their overall anti-corruption compliance programmes for employees, including senior executives. The video should be supplemented by detailed education on the Bribery Act’s wide offences, jurisdictional reach and potential impact (in terms of custodial sentences and financial penalties).