What works in policing money laundering?

Branislav Hock*, Mark Button, David William James Shepherd, Paul Michael Gilmour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Downloads (Pure)


This paper provides a comprehensive review of literature on policing money laundering to evaluate the quality of evidence presented in academic and grey literature. In doing so the paper reflects upon what strategies and mechanisms work in preventing, detecting and disrupting money laundering. To investigate the quality of evidence presented in academic and grey literature on money laundering, we have conducted a structured literature review of over 1000 sources. We have then evaluated the quality of evidence of these sources by using three distinct methods, namely the Maryland Scale, Research Excellence Framework, and Quality of Empirical Evidence Framework. This paper finds a large number of studies on money laundering meeting the highest academic quality standard. However, only a very small number of those studies, include empirical evidence that policing measures actually work with no study able to demonstrate a correlation between money laundering measures and risk factors at any point in time. This paper provides practical and theoretical insights into what works in money laundering and the role of scientific evaluations. It is particularly relevant for the successful implementation of AML policy measures, including, for example, the UK’s Economic Crime Plan 2023-2026, which aspires to measure progress and impact of policing in this area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Money Laundering Control
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 25 Aug 2023


  • money laundering
  • evidence-based policing
  • Maryland scale of evaluation
  • compliance
  • effectiveness

Cite this