Q&A: Matt Horne joins Clue as Head of Policing & Government

Dec 8, 2022
The former NCA Deputy Director of Investigations brings three decades of high-level law enforcement experience to Clue.

Clue is thrilled to welcome former National Crime Agency (NCA) Deputy Director of Investigations, Matt Horne, as Head of Policing & Government.

To mark the new appointment, we spoke with Matt to learn more about his impressive career in law enforcement, how our user community will benefit from his experience, and the role of technology and software for effective intelligence and investigation.

First off, Matt, welcome to Clue.  

Matt Horne: Thank you. I am very glad to be here.  

So, tell us a bit about your background and experience prior to joining us?  

MH: Certainly. So, before joining Clue, I spent the last 30 years working in law enforcement and national security. I started my career in policing, and then moved on to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. And then the National Crime Agency, where I’ve finished my career as a Deputy Director of Investigations, running multiple high-level national and international operations, and a large team working across the NCA’s mission. I also led the NCA’s investigative response to economic crime. 

Tell us a bit about your new role as Head of Policing & Government at Clue?  

MH: It is a pivotal role that I’m taking on. Policing and government clients are really important to Clue. And, of course, they do vital work protecting the public and the country from a wide range of threats.  

So, the ability for me to represent that sector in the organisation, to help shape how we deliver our capabilities – our software which supports the police and government marketplace – is a really exciting opportunity. I intend to bring all of my knowledge, experience and network built during my career in law enforcement to support that crucial work.  

How important do you think the role of technology and software like Clue is today in law enforcement?  

MH: Completely vital. Law enforcement and government organisations that carry out intelligence and investigative work are all absolutely reliant upon effective technology and software.  

Investigators and intelligence officers are faced with vast amounts of data that they have to work their way through to identify actionable leads. At the same time, there is an absolute requirement to avoid intelligence failure where vital information is missed because the investigator couldn’t identify or locate it.  

Those are really high-risk issues which challenge operational effectiveness. Having excellent technology platforms to run investigations and intelligence on makes a huge difference to law enforcement and similar organisations – it reduces that risk substantially.  

But also, technology and software significantly increase opportunities for positive investigative outcomes whether that is a criminal justice outcome in law enforcement and policing; safeguarding a vulnerable person; or even a civil enforcement if it’s a regulator, for example.

Achieving excellent outcomes relies upon having effective systems that intelligence officers and investigators can rely on, and I’m confident that Clue offers a very high-end capability which supports that.  

Technology is a force for good in the right hands, but it’s also advancing the methods and approaches that criminals employ… 

MH: Exactly. There is something of a technology arms race going on between the forces for good, law enforcement, and the forces for bad, the criminals that would want to do harm. Absolutely, there are real challenges…  end-to-end encryption, for example, means that often the data which investigators and intelligence officers require is not accessible. A huge amount of the fraud that now takes place is enabled by technology and by digital tools easily accessible to criminals – this is another major challenge.

Technology can be misused and present a barrier to investigators and intelligence officers but, likewise, when they and the organisations they work for have high quality technology of their own to use, it helps to even the field and can enable law enforcement to get one step ahead.   

At Clue, we talk a lot about economic crime, comprising everything from fraud, money laundering, illicit finance to bribery, corruption and even sanctions evasion. How would you describe the scale and impact of economic crime today? 

MH: Economic crime is absolutely a growing threat. It’s everywhere and affects everybody.  

Most people will probably face some sort of financial loss through being defrauded. The chances are that will come through technology, such as part of a cyber phishing attack, or similar. Not only does it affect members of the public, but it also affects businesses and the public sector. It can even undermine a company’s ability to carry on their business if they lose large amounts of money to fraudsters.  

But economic crime is much broader than that. Money laundering undermines the economy. Organised crime in the UK is a huge illicit business; if you think about drug trafficking, and other criminal commodities, the huge amounts of profit that are made have got to be – from a criminal point of view – laundered. That means cash being smuggled out of the country or being channelled through virtual currencies and then layered into property, or into different parts of the economy.  

Looking at international corruption, huge amounts of money can be stolen from other countries, by corrupt elites, before ending up in this country, invested in property. We’ve seen how Russian illicit financing is used to buy influence. When you look across the breadth of economic crime, the impacts are huge, damaging and far-reaching.  

We’ve talked about the impact of technology and software to intelligence and investigations today. With that in mind, do intelligence officers and investigation professionals now need new skillsets?  

MH: The core requirements of an intelligence or investigative mindset are about keeping an open mind, considering all sources and investigative options, corroborating and double checking the intelligence and the evidence, following the evidence wherever it leads, and having an ethical, accountable investigative approach.  

All those traits absolutely stand the test of time and are as applicable now as they might have been 20 years ago. But I certainly think that intelligence and investigative officers certainly do need to develop new skills. And when it comes to being able to deal with large data sets, to understand complex financial crime, and to overcome the technology which is being used by criminals, there is absolutely a requirement for ongoing training, development and upskilling of our intelligence and investigative community if we are to keep pace.  

But the underpinning tactics, techniques and ethos of intelligence and investigations are still as important today as ever.  

Thanks, Matt, we’re excited to have you on board. 

Clue helps law enforcement agencies, corporations and public sector organisations manage intelligence and investigations into threats including fraud, money laundering and corruption, and bribery.

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