Police, OCBC in tie-up to expedite financial crime detection

Automated data retrieval processes will soon enable law enforcement agencies to reduce the time needed for crime detection.

Project Poet (Production Orders: Electronic Transmission), a collaboration between the Singapore Police Force and OCBC Bank, will allow banking information to be conveyed more promptly between the bank and the police. This will result in financial crimes being solved more efficiently.

The new initiative was announced by Mr T. Raja Kumar, Deputy Secretary (International and Training) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, yesterday at the opening of the two-day Financial Crime Seminar organised by the Association of Banks in Singapore.

A joint statement by the police and OCBC said retrieving banking information for law enforcement agencies was largely done manually in the past.

It was labour-intensive, especially when an extensive amount of information was required.

Project Poet will reduce the time for processing information to one or two working days. Without it, the process typically takes three months.

The technology also enhances Singapore's Anti-Money Laundering Risk Management regime, the statement said, as OCBC can use artificial intelligence and transaction link analysis tools to monitor and identify hidden relations and suspicious activities by specific customers or customer groups. This would benefit both the bank and Singapore's financial intelligence unit, the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office - a unit of the Commercial Affairs Department.


"We should embrace technology and leverage predictive analytics to allow banks and authorities to work together to connect the dots and do so quickly, to spot suspicious trends and patterns and move in fast and effectively to arrest malicious activities," Mr Kumar said. There is a need to use technology to detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist networks, which are becoming more sophisticated in their operations, he added.

OCBC's head of group legal and regulatory compliance Loretta Yuen said: "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."

Insights from the data gathered will also help in combating financial crime and mitigating money-laundering risks, she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2019, with the headline 'Police, OCBC in tie-up to expedite financial crime detection'. Print Edition | Subscribe