Suspicious activity reports (SARs)

The National Crime Agency has published a guide to defence against money laundering

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has issued SARS Regime Good Practice Frequently Asked Questions: Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML), which highlights good practice and interpretations provided by experienced money laundering reporting officers (MLROs) from across the UK suspicious activity reports (SARs) regime.

The NCA states that 'the ambition of these core answers is therefore to help a large cross section of the SAR reporting community and improve the quality of DAML disclosures. The aim will be to regularly review the content as it is anticipated that this product will evolve into further editions following the introduction of new legislation, regulations and crime trends.'

The NCA has also stated that the benefits of the DAML FAQ include:

  • It offers good practical guidance and should help improve DAML quality.
  • Time should be saved for the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) in sending requests for further information and for reporters replying to such requests.
  • It signposts SAR regime AML guidance in one place.
  • AML help desk facilities now have a common framework to start from and can provide their colleagues with examples that relate to their work environments.

The guide includes Q&As such as:

'What constitutes ‘suspicion’ under POCA?

Suspicion is not defined in legislation. The Court of Appeal (R v Da Silva) defined suspicion of money laundering as a possibility, which is more than fanciful, that the other person was or had been engaged in, or benefited from criminal conduct and that the suspicion formed was of a settled nature. There does not need to be anything amounting to evidence of the suspected money laundering. The threshold for suspicion under POCA is generally considered to be low.'