- Why the law enforcement takeover at the helm of the SFO had to happen
The news that outgoing director Lisa Osofsky is being replaced by Nick Ephgrave QPM as head of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office will be welcomed by many who have watched this flagship anti-fraud and anti-corruption organisation lurch from crisis-to-crisis in recent years.
Both my Head of UK Investigations, Tony McClements, and I have commented on several occasions (see below) on the need for change at the SFO.
The organisation is filled with expertise and experience, but as a law enforcement agency it has needed leadership with criminal investigation experience (Ms Osofsky had a background as a US federal prosecutor).
The SFO’s cases are by their nature complex and navigating these complex inquiries takes experience and requires both strategic and tactical understanding.
It remains to be seen if Mr Ephgrave is the correct fit, but his CV includes leading several major investigations as Senior Investigating Officer (SIO).
Most recently, Mr Ephgrave was Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Criminal Justice Co-ordination Committee and held roles on the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and the Sentencing Council.
Between February 2019 and September 2022, he was Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and, prior to this, he was the Chief Constable for Surrey Police between December 2015 and February 2019.
His CID background and SIO experience will hopefully prevent some of the occurrences that saw the SFO heavily criticised in recent years.
I’d like to wish Mr Ephgrave well in his endeavours, and would ask that the SFO team embrace the changes to come.