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Financial crime investigation: an evaluation of an online training program for police

Jacqueline M. Drew (Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia)
Emily Moir (Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia)
Michael Newman (Queensland Police Service, Brisbane, Australia)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 22 January 2021

Issue publication date: 27 May 2021




Financial crime continues to represent a crime type that costs billions of dollars per year. It is likely more widespread than any other criminal offence. Despite this, it remains an area that is often ignored, or at best neglected by police. Police agencies typically fail to invest resources and training in upskilling police in financial crime investigation. The current study evaluates an agency-wide training initiative undertaken by the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Australia.


The QPS mandated completion of an in-house online financial crime training program for all officers, up to and including the rank of senior sergeant. Matched pre- and post-training data of 1,403 officers were obtained.


The research found that police are under-trained in financial crime. The findings suggest that short online training programs can produce important improvements in knowledge and confidence in financial crime investigation. Critically, attitudes about this crime type which may be deterring officers from engaging in financial crime investigation can be improved.


The current research finds that police agencies need to more heavily invest in training officers to investigate financial crime and such investment will have positive outcomes. The first step involves improving knowledge, skills and attitudes towards this crime type. Further research is needed to understand why training, particularly related to attitudinal change, is more effective for different cohorts of police and how future training programs should be adapted to maximise success.



The authors wish to acknowledge the support of Detective Senior Sergeant Kirsten Helton (Queensland Police Service) for her assistance. Det S/Sgt Helton provided feedback on the survey design and facilitated its distribution across the police agency. The authors also thank the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group (Queensland Police Service) for their support, allowing us the opportunity to evaluate the training program. Research Funding: Funding for this research was provided by the Queensland Police Service, Australia. Funding was provided to the first author to fund project management and data collection activities.


Drew, J.M., Moir, E. and Newman, M. (2021), "Financial crime investigation: an evaluation of an online training program for police", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 44 No. 3, pp. 525-539.



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