On November 19, 2020, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) published its 2020 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Annual Report, that shares statistics on how the SAR regime has performed in providing information and assistance to UK authorities. According to the report, the UKFIU processed a record number of 573,085 SARs between April 2019 to March 2020, which is a 20% increase over the previous year. There was also an 81% increase in Defence Against Money Laundering requests, reflecting steady increases in the volume of SARs every month, with the highest number of requests totaling 7,252 in January 2020.
Among its many achievements, the NCA highlighted the UKFIU’s role in preventing suspected criminals from obtaining £172 million, an increase of 31% over 2018/19 totals, and three times more than in 2017/18, with over £100 million of these denied funds related to cases with no previous or existing law enforcement investigation, demonstrating the increasing value that SARs bring to new law enforcement investigations, and its impact on existing ones.
The UKFIU also developed and strengthened relationships with international partners this year, by co-leading the Egmont Group project with AUSTRAC (the Australian Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (the Philippines Financial Intelligence Unit) that studied financial flows associated with online child exploitation and abuse.