Chapter 16

Fun with works and maintenance in the police and the Ministry of Defence

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.

Henri Matisse (1869–1954)

BACKGROUND

I’ve told the tale in my first fraud book about how, just a few weeks after becoming Director of Internal Audit at the Met Police, I accidentally stumbled across an armed robber running a company with a three-year police contract for minor works and maintenance. During the investigation that followed, I came across other and quite sinister signs of how this and other criminally intended organisations had managed to worm their way into the confidence of the police.

I have no doubt that the police, by the nature of their business, are as much of interest to criminals as criminals are of interest to them. Colleagues in the anti-corruption units at the Met were always convinced that at any one time, just as a number of undercover police operations were penetrating underworld gangs, so certain criminal gangs were deliberately targeting the Met in return.

In the Met’s case, the criminals often had two motives, first to put one over on us by ripping off the police and second to glean intelligence and steal documentation that they could turn to advantage in the criminal world. But there is no doubt that the MoD and the NHS, as well as local authorities, have also found themselves victims of these fraudsters on a grand scale. Works and maintenance, engineering repairs and ...

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