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Undercover police officers to be sent into financial services firms

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The City of London police is to start sending undercover police into financial services firms to tackle financial crime.

Speaking at a Financial Conduct Authority conference on financial crime in London this week, City of London police chief superintendent Oliver Shaw said criminals need to know the police are “looking over their shoulder”.

Shaw said the FCA and City of London police have the same objectives and it can act as the regulator’s “muscle” by using search warrants and arrests.

He said: “We stand and fall by the trust our customers and communities have in the financial system and we have let them down. It is not just payment protection insurance or Libor but financial scandals going back many years. Where were we all when these schemes were created to dupe innocent customers?”

He added: “You will see increased covert surveillance on trading floors. We will be putting undercover officers into financial institutions. We will be tape recording, audio recording and possibly video recording their activities. They need to know we are looking over their shoulder.”

Mortgage Centre IFA group director Fahim Antoniades says: “There is a lot of fraud in the financial sector that needs to be combatted but where do you draw the line between policing and spying? If the enforcement agencies are going undercover to check up on your day to day business then it is the start of a police state.”

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