4.1 It is clear that the new funding has allowed forces to bring their practices further in-line with good practice, and a greater maximisation of opportunities to collect financial intelligence towards POCA investigations, money laundering enquiries, as well as providing greater support to a range of other non-financial police investigations.
4.2 It is difficult to assess the value added to policing by financial investigators from the performance data which are currently held. The impact of this work, through proceeds of crime legislation will be realised over the next few years. This impact will also be realised as a result of complex working and contributions made by many individuals and organisations within the investigative process.
4.3 The approach taken in this review also focused on the changes in process that the funding enabled, and quantitative measures of inputs and outputs from financial investigators work, as well as qualitative data from key individuals involved. These suggest that there has been good progress in terms of increasing the amount of financial intelligence collected, the numbers of suspicious activity reports reviewed and the increase in knowledge achieved through the training and advice provided by financial investigators within police forces. In the interviews with police officers and financial investigators for this research, it was clear that the new posts had also had a symbolic importance, emphasising financial investigation as the centrepiece of a new approach towards investigation within policing.
4.4 There was however a widespread desire among research participants to see better training provided to financial investigators and the wider policing community. At the moment this consists of very limited general training for police officers, and financial investigators. Almost all of the training provided to the new staff was local training, within their new posts. Although there is a Scottish practitioners group, the benefits that might be realised from a well developed professional community are not yet realised in full.
4.5 Although there were common challenges and decisions being made, the three forces were acting in isolation from each other much of the time, and there are opportunities to reduce in overlap and duplication if there are common principles and understandings of how financial investigation works most effectively, which posts are most critical, and how information and learning can be shared between force locations. This also may help to provide consistency for the monitoring of financial investigation contributions to policing outcomes.
4.6 Other documents and guidance suggest that the current levels of financial investigation are still low, compared to recommended models of delivery, which suggests that greater staffing allocation may allow for even greater benefits to be realised.
4.7 The investment in financial investigators has clearly added value to the processes which provide for the collection, analysis and use of financial intelligence towards policing and criminal justice outcomes. Further investment in this work, combined with a commitment to more detailed summative evaluation, will enable greater amounts of progress to be realised.