Operation Podium is the Met’s dedicated response to serious and organised crime affecting the economy of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Part of the Specialist Crime Directorate, the team has been formed based on previous experience of proactively investigating and dealing with a range of crime from money laundering and fraud to organised ticket crime, across a range of industries and major events.
It is recognised that the Olympics, the world’s largest sporting event, could be an attractive target for those organised criminal networks who seek to exploit the economy of these major events, operating scams and frauds preying on the public.
Operation Podium is split into four distinct teams all working with the sole aim of preventing organised criminal networks from benefiting financially from the Games at the expense of the millions of visitors to London and the Games during 2012:
Podium’s proactive prevention team is hard at work preventing as much crime as possible from actually happening in the first place. This is achieved through a number of routes:
- Expert advice- through acting as expert advisors to key stakeholders and businesses involved in London 2012, the Podium team review systems, identify vulnerabilities and risks before providing advice and awareness training to reduce the opportunity to criminals.
- Specialist industry forums - including the hotel industry; major events ticket suppliers; payment service providers; hospitality industry; travel sector and vetting industries. Through these forums police work in partnership with industry specialists to share intelligence, identify risks and trends and build preventative measures into their business as usual practices.
- Testing - all the learning and best practice gathered and developed by Podium are being tested by the team at major events in the build up to the Games.
By identifying and disrupting those organised criminal networks that are operating now, Podium’s proactive investigation teams are making it difficult for them to avoid detection before the Games begin. They achieve this through:
- Investigations - taking action against those networks involved in organised ticket crime now, whether this is website abuse, failing to provide tickets, selling fake tickets or by touting. By targeting them now it will make it harder for them to operate in 2012.
Whether it is a fraud, money laundering, ticketing or corruption investigation Podium will use their powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to attack criminal networks by seizing and restraining their assets.
- Partnership work - working with a range of key organisations the team are exploiting all options to close down criminal networks. These range from arrest and prosecution, civil prosecution referrals, cash seizures and closing down websites.
- All of Podium’s work is intelligence led. A dedicated intelligence team is responsible for developing and researching about the key people involved in these crimes.
- The Bronze Crime Operations team works alongside Met units and other law enforcement agencies across a range of crimes that may affect the delivery and reputation of the Games.
Podium also work closely with the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PeCU) to investigate offences relating to illegal online ticket sales, misuse of the internet structure to commit crime, and mass data theft related to the Games.