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Dave Carter

Life after the Job: Dave Carter

A former detective chief inspector's wealth of experience dealing with fraud and plastic crime has transformed how a charity deals with corruption worldwide.

Life after the Job: Dave Carter

It was a policing career of great contrast. Within 14 years Dave Carter went from being a humble PC in the rural landscape of Hampshire to leading a national payment crime unit within the smallest force nestled in the heart of a city.

Scaling impressive heights as he steadily climbed the ranks, former detective chief inspector Dave will always be appreciative of the core grounding his two years in Hampshire gave him - skills he still relies on to this day as head of fraud management at Save the Children International.

A recruit in the very first intake of the new millennium, Dave joined the Police Service with the promise of an exciting and interesting career having left roles in sales and marketing after deciding to make a fundamental career change before he was 30.

His first posting to Hampshire saw him patrol the streets of Fareham, where he was "tossed a set of car keys and out you go on your own".

"It was you against the world," said Dave. "You are out on your own and you have to save the world.

"It was fantastic because you were forced to deal with a situation yourself and it gave me confidence.

"Two years later I joined the City of London Police with 10 year's policing experience crammed into my first two years.

"It was a big culture change - going to a place where there are police everywhere from an area where you were on your own. The culture within the City of London Police was that there were so many people to police the Square Mile that it was almost difficult to take crimes on yourself."

Climbing the ranks

After two years in the city, Dave was promoted to sergeant. His last day as a uniformed sergeant, July 7, 2005, strongly tested Dave's knowledge and expertise. The series of coordinated bombings in central London on public transport rocked the entire country.

His detective career started soon after when he was offered the unusual promotion to detective sergeant from a uniform role.

With a passion for major crime investigation, Dave helped form the force's first inaugural dedicated major crime investigation unit - previously the force would create a team following an incident.

One of unit's first big investigations focused on the G20 riots.

Dave went on to become the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) for the unit's first case that was taken to court. An illegal male taxi driver was convicted of serial rape of vulnerable gay men, who he would pick up and then attack in the back of his car.

Dave honed his specialist skills further by joining the economic crime department in 2011, where he managed major fraud investigations as SIO and ran an operational team including case management, fraud prevention and major crime review.

A promotion to detective chief inspector marked Dave's favourite part of his policing career as he took responsibility for the dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit, comprising an even mix of City of London Police officers and Metropolitan Police officers.

Raising the profile of the unit, Dave highlighted successful high-profile cases of cheque fraud, crimes against ATMs, telephone scams and offences where the bank would lose money.

"It was the favourite part of my career and I had a fantastic team," he said.

"I was able to run it and we had the funding to do it properly - it was a really good job. It was quite high profile,  and we raised the profile of the unit quite a lot."

Tough decisions

Despite a flourishing and rewarding career - alongside fantastic colleagues - the national backdrop of radical reform by the government made a long-term career in policing increasing unsustainable and unappealing. 

"The pay and conditions which I had signed up to had gone forever," he said.  

"I had 15 or 16 years left and my pension had been changed - I would be paying a lot more to get a lot less a lot later.

"That whole ethos of change and shift from the government changed the position of policing for me. The cuts to policing were savage and disproportionate and it totally disabled your ability to do the job. It made me look elsewhere for the first time ever even though I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing."

In early 2014 Dave embarked on a "new career frontier" as the head of fraud management at Save the Children.

Covering 120 countries and 14,000 employees Dave is responsible for all criminal investigations, and the training and development of staff in effective fraud management and transforming the culture to counter fraud internationally.

Dave and five other team members located across the globe deliver a bespoke training package that he devised himself in the basic investigative skills he put to use daily in his policing career.

The training is delivered in places where corruption can be considered the norm.

This training - modelled on the "best Police Service in the world" - has been delivered to teams in Nepal, Zambia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Thailand, and that is just the beginning.

Dave said: "I have built in a lot of policing practices - such as the five part statement taking process and the national intelligence model  - into a three day investigation training course.

"The real issue we need to impress upon the candidates is the investigative mindset - and that can be a challenging concept to understand in only a few days' training .

"We need to capacity build and empower countries to do things for themselves."

Dave fully credits his policing career for giving him invaluable, transferable skills that he will continue to utilise in his career going forward - and he urges other police colleagues to carefully evaluate the strong skill set the job has given them.

"The skills I developed in policing are very desirable in the outside world," he said. "Policing teaches you leadership and taking responsibility and to be motivated in what you are doing."

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