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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 10409
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Can the police access someones bank account if they suspect

Resolved Question:

Can the police access someone's bank account if they suspect fraud? and do they have to tell the account holder?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 5 years ago.

Buachaill :

1. Yes, the police have widespread powers in investigating fraud. This includes the possibility of getting an order compelling the bank to hand over records relating to an account if they suspect fraud. This can be done without the account holder being made aware that it is happening. It would only be when the suspect was questioned that he would be made aware that his account details have been accessed in the investigation of the crime. However, in order to freeze the account, the police would have to go to court to do so. AFter a temporary freezing order would be made in relation to an account where fraud was suspected, then the account holder would have an opportunity to challenge the making of a freezing order. It would only be at this stage that the account holder would become aware of what had happened.

Buachaill :

Please ACCEPT the Answer. I will remain available to answer any further queries you may have.

Customer:

If the bank are asked if they had been approached to hand over records would they have to tell the account holder?

Buachaill :

2. In principle Yes. You could write to them requesting this information. However, this might make the bank suspicious that something has gone wrong when in fact there is no such risk. There are money-laundering laws which require the bank to know their customer, so if you raise suspicions about your own activity, you might find the bank will require further information. A letter to the bank should be tightly worded and should not suggest anything untoward is involved.

Customer:

would the police asking for access the records not already raise suspicion? I am already 95% sure this has happened but I would like to know for sure.

Buachaill :

3. If the police have already asked for the records, then the bank have already been put on notice. Accordingly, you have little to worry about in making the request.

Buachaill :

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Customer:

What are the timescales on when they have accessed the account to when they will question the account holder?

Buachaill :

4. This is impossible to say. This very much depends on the police investigation. It will all depend upon the strenght of the evidence on hand before the question the account holder. The stronger the evidence, the sooner will questioning occur.

Customer:

Do they inform the account holder employer about their investigation?

Buachaill :

5. That will depend upon what context the questioning takes place in. Normally it will mean the account holder will immediately become aware that the police have his account details. However, the police never tell interviewees or people they question, all that they have investigated.

Customer:

I am sorry I am not quite sure what you mean, my question is, if the police are investigating someone do they tell their employers about the investigation at the initial stages?

Buachaill :

6. No, definitely not. The employers are not informed. Employers have no right to know if an employee is under investigation for fraud.

Customer:

Where do they normally carry out their questioning of the suspect?

Buachaill :

7. The police station. the suspect is taken there or asked to attend for questioning.

Buachaill :

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