Episode 1 - Perspective from a real life former Anti-Corruption Police Officer
So, after a 2 year wait the hit BBC series “Line of Duty” is back on TV. Its first episode this week received some of the highest ratings ever for a police drama on the BBC.
The programme follows the exploits of AC-12, a fictitious covert police unit, charged with investigating police corruption at the highest levels.
The show begins with an ambush, that leaves three police officers dead and another wounded and the theft of £100m worth of heroin that was being moved from a police warehouse to an incinerator.
Although this is a fictional series. The plots, methods and politics could easily come from real life anti-corruption investigations - Albeit in real life, investigations of this sort involve huge resources and specialist techniques – not just a team of 3!
Managing corruption and the insider threat is one of the most difficult and time-consuming issues for police to deal with:
1) Enquiries must be carried out extremely carefully and quietly, so that corrupt police officers and the criminals paying them, aren’t tipped off.
2) Nothing comes together this easily! Remember, police officers know how to investigate, they know the law enforcement techniques used, the operational security employed, and they know capabilities - And a lot of the “bent” coppers I investigated were actually very good at their jobs.
This first episode sees the route taken by police to the incinerator leaked by a police employee – who happens to be the cousin of a serving AC12 police officer (PC Maneet Bindra) who has already been compromised in a previous series after providing (she assumed legitimately) sensitive information to another corrupt senior police officer.
Her cousin, the employee who leaked the drugs information in the first place had a gambling habit and was being forced to provide information because of his debts, making him vulnerable.
PC Bindra, knowing what was going on and desperate to protect her job, her family, and having already compromised herself previously, keeps quiet and gets herself into deeper trouble – Ultimately leading to her untimely demise.
The issues described above (uncontrolled gambling habit, debt, fear for losing one’s job and a failure to report concerns or wrongdoing) are classic “Insider Threat” red flags – not just relevant to police – They are relevant to all organisations, including yours!
There are sure to be many more twists and turns as this series progresses. One of the main characters Steve, is still in pain from previous injuries and he’s popping painkillers like its gone out of fashion….and the boss is getting divorced, living in a hotel room and is behind in his rent. And this is only episode 1!
Granted, most organisations don’t hold data of the sort of sensitivity we are talking about in this episode and nor do they generally transport huge shipments of Class A drugs around the country. However, companies and organisations do handle “sensitive” information – either belonging to their own employees, their patients, or their customers.
Companies also hold an enormous amount of valuable Intellectual Property (IP) or company sensitive information.
This information has a value to criminals and competitors. It should be protected in much the same way as police information is and assessed on the basis of risk.
A few pointers to protect your information – there are more which I will cover in later posts.
Get in touch now if you would like to talk more about how to manage your insider risk and cyber security vulnerabilities. If you would like our help to do so. Or if you have any questions at all.
www.esid.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel +44 (0) 844 3582362
Gary is CEO and Founder of ESID Consulting. An Insider Threat & Information Security consultancy.