Fraud

Meeting: 
PCC on 2012-10-25
Session date: 
October 25, 2012
Reference: 
2012/0053
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Question

I want to talk about the general issue of fraud, and then I want to get into a specific example. First of all, perhaps briefly, Deputy Commissioner, you could outline what the police are doing, what checks you have in place, to alert you to cases of potential fraud?

Answer

Answer for Fraud

Answer for Fraud

Answered By: 
Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): In general?

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Within the Metropolitan Police Service.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Within the Metropolitan Police Service, as in committed by the Metropolitan Police Service?

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Yes, by Metropolitan Police Service officers, what sort of processes you have in place.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Sorry, I am with you. In terms of the checks and review, I think you are referring to things like credit cards and those sort

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Yes, I am going to come on to credit cards, but just generally in terms of fraud within the Metropolitan Police Service, what processes do you have in place to alert you when there are such cases?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I have, through the Department of Professional Standards, through things like Right Line, through internal reporting systems, a number of ways of identifying particular issues of fraud, dishonesty and those general principles. Through colleagues in the Directorate of Resources, so through finance, we can look at and audit spend and expenditure and look for outliers, so we can look at a range of things around that. All the way through to management board level, all expenses and expenditure end up coming through me. We also then, to the audit committee, which is now a MOPAC and MPS joint committee, report those expenditures through that, and with colleagues from internal audit from the Directorate of Audit, Risk and Assurance (DARA) we have also done reviews of those sorts of controls to look at whether they work and what the feedback is in relation to those. Those are the systems and processes we have in place to allow us to do that.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): That is quite a wide range of processes. I come to Andrew now in terms of MOPAC, we know you have appointed Simon Duckworth to chair your audit committee. Presumably a risk register has gone to that. Do you want to talk us through and give us a flavour of the key risks that are on your risk register that has gone to audit, which ones are red?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I would need to write, I do not have the level of detail to provide a full answer, so I would need to write to you on that.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK, do you want to give us a flavour, perhaps some of the discussions that audit have had?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): My role as interim deputy chief executive did not cover the police accountability and the audit stuff. I have not been part of any discussions, so I would not be able to give you a full answer. However, I will provide you a comprehensive letter on that point.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): I would appreciate that, particularly given our July meeting I raised this with the Deputy Chair, and I raised the issue of some work the former MPA was doing with academic research and other interviews they were going to bring forward, looking at this particular issue. Are you aware of that report? Has it emerged yet?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I am not aware of that, but I will write to you on this issue.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Craig is nodding; have you seen

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I have seen the report in relation to those controls and mechanisms, and we have done some work with both that and the HMIC Fear and Favour Report to look at those sort of lessons from them, and some of the key findings. Some of it is around the quality of the data and the systems and then, exactly as your first question came to, it is how robust are the processes.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): It would be useful if it is possible to see that report. As I say, it was started under the MPA, we were expecting it.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I will look into that. The one thing I can report is that our response to the HMIC Fear and Favour Report, we are working on having a response to that early in the new year, so there is that bit. There is an activity, I am just not in a position to brief the Committee as fully as I would like.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK, let us get on to the specific of credit cards. This was an issue particularly on the corporate governance committee of the old MPA we looked at in great detail. We are talking historically we had the American Express cards where we had 3,500 issued in the Metropolitan Police Service, we had £3.7 million unreconciled expenditure at one time, and we saw about 59 disciplinary procedures and prosecutions. In 2008 you had Barclay cards introduced and we still saw some low levels of potential fraud and some relating to those. I am wondering if you could tell us today, perhaps Craig to start off with, the number of Barclay cards that are in operation in the Metropolitan Police Service, the total claims that are over 30 days and that are unreconciled, and perhaps the number of cases of disciplinary procedures that have taken place since they were introduced in 2008.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Thank you, yes, there are currently 2,363 in issue, down from that high figure of 3,530. If I give you the results for September, the last full month for which we have figures available, we are now on average reconciling within 37 days of statements being received, so that is done. I am just looking for the figure on the problems we have had. I have read it, but I do not want to quote it without getting the number right. I will find it in the briefing note, but it is much, much smaller numbers. Certainly, as you rightly say, we had considerable issues in October 2007. I will find it for

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Do you have the figure for the unreconciled, you said it has taken 37 days to reconcile, but how many figures are you finding that are longer than that, do you have that figure?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): No, I do not, I

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): It would be useful to have that comparison.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I can get that figure for you. What we do now in relation to the spend is we look at the top five categories of spend across the piece. We look particularly at any cash spend in terms of where it will be, and the limits have been lowered dramatically on cash spend. During the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and the Torch, to ease some of that, we used prepaid cards, so used something that had a much lower limit on it and was much clearer about what it was for. On travel, again, that has now been analysed, we can break that down on a monthly basis to a transport code, and then go back to challenge individual areas. But I will find you I do not have the figure to hand on the unreconciled amounts, so I will get that for you.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Can you just have a look for the figure of the number of cases you have had to take disciplinary procedures on, while I ask Andrew, what is MOPAC's role in looking at this? This is a very serious issue. Does MOPAC have any corporate credit cards?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): On the latter point, I am not aware that we do. I do not think we have, but I would need to check on that point. In terms of the sort of MOPAC role, what I can say on that is that the MOPAC Directorate of Audit Risk and Assurance continues to review the control framework. A DARA review was concluded in May 2012 and reported in summary to the joint MOPAC/MPS audit panel on 28 June. Unhelpfully, my briefing does not say what that said. However, the counter-fraud team within DARA continues to work with the MPS in analysing corporate charge spend on a regular basis and the assurance that I have had is that they are assured that the necessary controls are in place. As I say, unhelpfully, my briefing does not include the detail of what that report said, but I am sure we can share that with you.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): I really would appreciate that in writing because it is an issue certainly I and colleagues have raised and have been following for a long time.

Craig, do you have the

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Eight issues since the change of process.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): You have had eight disciplinary procedures?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Eight recorded cases of misuse.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK, so that has gone down considerably, lovely. I will leave it there, but if I could have that extra detail in writing I would appreciate it.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Yes, happily.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): Thank you.