Investigative training specialist Sancus marks 10 successful years

When former senior police detectives Mick Turner and Tony Hester set up Sancus Solutions during the height of the financial crisis a decade ago they knew it was going to be a tough call. But ten years later the company has now grown to become the country’s leading investigative skills training provider with major public and private sector clients throughout the UK as well as in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“I think in 2009 the bookies would have given us poor odds for survival, never mind success, but I’m delighted that we’ve just passed the milestone of our tenth anniversary and we continue to go from strength to strength,” says Mick. “Back then budgets were being slashed across the board and the public sector was striving to cope with unprecedented financial cutbacks.” Somewhat ironically, this created an opportunity for Mick and Tony as police forces began shedding staff and resources for in-house training were stretched.”

Sancus 10th Birthday Candle

The pair had come into contact with each other after they had left the police service and were then working for an outsourcing training agency but when the company began to focus more on recruitment they decided to set up Sancus together. “I already possessed investigative skills, of course, and also carried out training to senior officers within the force,” says Mick, a former Detective Superintendent with Lancashire Constabulary who handled many serious crime cases in the county. During his 31 years with the Met in London, Tony was responsible for training detectives as head of what is now known as the Metropolitan Police Crime Academy, re-establishing it as a major detective training school.

“At the time, because of swingeing budget cuts, police forces were struggling to deliver much beyond the most essential training and we saw an opportunity to fill the gaps by providing them with a specialised, cost-effective service,” says Mick. “Sancus has now delivered training to every one of the police forces in England and Wales and become the provider of choice for many of them in areas such as professional standards and road death investigation. We quickly decided that the investigative skills we had gained during our time with the police, and then working as an external resource, were transferrable to other organisations both in the public and private sectors. This enabled the business to grow its client base to agencies such as the Home Office, the National Crime Agency and HS2. We have also been privileged to deliver training courses for employees of local authorities and numerous health trusts. At the same time, we’ve expanded to serve the private sector in the same way and we are proud to be trusted by major companies such as Virgin Media, RBS, Glaxo Smith Kline and William Hill.”

“Our trainers have clocked up plenty of air miles over the years, travelling on our behalf to Rwanda, South Africa, the United States, China, India, Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain, Singapore, Gibraltar and Belgium,” says Mick. From its base in Preston, Lancashire, the company has a nationwide network of 140 training consultants with diverse skills delivering a wide range of courses at both on-site and venue locations.

During the past two years, Sancus has branched out to develop significant expertise in large review and investigation services as well as managing and completing a number of domestic homicide reviews. It has also recently successfully applied to become part of the NHS Mental Health Investigations National Framework Agreement. 

“We are now looking forward to the future with the aim of opening up new markets for training both here in the UK and internationally as we continue to grow our portfolio of services,” adds Mick. “The past ten years since our foundation have been both challenging and exciting in many ways but we now feel the best is yet to come for Sancus.”

For further information on any of our courses or to discuss how we can specifically help your organisation with no obligation

please call 01772 282800, email or visit

Investigative Interviewing Training – Preston, November 2019

We are offering a one day, Investigative Interviewing Skills Training course


  • Where – Preston, Lancashire

  • When – Tuesday 12th November 2019

  • Cost – £99+vat

Whether you are an HR professional, a public or private investigator or a line manager when you need to conduct an investigation, interviewing skill are crucial.

The Sancus one day Investigative Interviewing Skills Training  makes sure you know how to conduct a fair and successful investigation interview.

What does the Training course cover?

  • How to plan and prepare for a successful interview
  • Using the PEACE model to structure and perform thorough interviews capable of withstanding detailed scrutiny
  • The 5 part witness statement and its benefit for the investigator
  • Memory enhancement (both interviewer and witness) including case guidance on descriptions given by eyewitnesses
  • The conversation management style of interviewing

For more information click this link Investigative Interview Skills Training

Sancus International Investigations Training

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A very busy week for our Investigations Training team with Graham (pictured above) delivering Investigations training to staff at GSK in Kuala Lumper, Darin delivering Investigations and Interviewing training for staff at Qatar Airways in Doha and Ann delivering to staff at the National Autistic Society in London. We’re already getting great feedback from the delegates on each of the three courses;

  • Practical sessions excellent, allow participants to practice the newly learned skills in class and got instance feedback from Trainer (Graham). – Really like it. Trainer very experienced, able to share experiences and gave suggestion on different approach to conduct investigative interview. BTEJ
  • Dear Sancus team, the course and instructor far exceeded my expectations, I am extremely happy with the outcome and would recommend Darin as a instructor on future courses without hesitation. IG
  • The course met the objectives, was well-paced and delivered with confidence. It provided clearer guidance and structure and I now feel that I have a firmer foundation in which to base future investigations. Many thanks to Ann. EB

If you are interested in any of our Investigative Skills Training –  Investigations and/or Interviewing please contact us by clicking on the link below and the course Director will be happy to discuss how we can meet your organisations needs for Invetigatvive Training.


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‘how can you tell if someone is telling the truth?’

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‘how can you tell if someone is telling the truth?’

I have delivered a number of courses recently where investigative interviewing is a major part. One of the first things we cover is the incorrect assumption that Investigative Interviewing is about getting a confession. This is a common misunderstanding! The interview is about gathering checkable information which is pertinent to the incident being investigated. This includes what they say happened and their alibi if that applies. In order to understand this we should explore a few things which may happen before and during the interview.


Imagine that you have made a mistake at work, perhaps you have broken the line managers favourite mug. You decide not to say anything and quickly tidy up the pieces. A short time later, the line manager calls you from her office and asks if you can speak to her for a couple of minutes. Your first thought is she knows you have broken her favourite mug.  So what do you tell her? ‘It was an accident’, ‘I will try and get another one if she can tell you where it came from’, or even ‘It was not me, I know nothing about a broken mug’. No matter what it is, you sort out what you are going to say, even before you are asked. You may also decide not to volunteer the demise of the mug unless she brings it up first. This is all normal, we do it in our private and work life.


Put yourself in the place of a person being interviewed. You will have been given an appointment, perhaps by letter. You will know the reason for the interview, what you are being investigated for. You will do the same as in the mug incident, although depending on the nature of the investigation you will probably spend longer thinking about what you are going to say. There are three simple options to talking.

  1. The first, tell the complete truth.
  2. Secondly, tell a complete pack of lies
  3. Three, tell a combination of lies and truth.

You may even run what you are going to say past your friend or a union representative or a lawyer or your co subject. It may sound right to you but what do others think of the version of events you wish to tell? As a result, you may alter the story again and again.


The difficulty the interviewer has is if the third option is chosen then it is not very easy for us to distinguish what is true and what is a lie.  If the story told by the subject sounds like it could have happened then it all may sound true. So what do we do?


Check The facts

No matter what the subject or the witness/victim says, we are going to check it all.  If you think about it, the more information we can gather then the likelihood is that we will have gathered a lot of information which we can check. Check against other witnesses, computer or telephone records, or even CCTV. The next thing then is that if we want to check everything, the more we gather the better. The key here is to gather the information in fine grain detail, the more the better. Of course, it has to be relevant to the investigation. If someone says they have been hit on the head by a co worker, which hand? How hard? What sound did it make? What did it feel like? What was said before, during and afterwards? That is just a start, we need much much more.


Hand in hand with this is the question ‘how can you tell if someone is telling the truth?. The simple answer is that it is not easy. Body language is an inexact science, if you are not trained you will make a mistake. One way is to ask them if they have told the truth but of course they may lie when they answer. So the best way is gather as much detail as you can from the interviewee. The more information you gather, the more you have which you can cross check. A note here, if you have not been on one of our courses, not every witness will report the exact same details of an incident even if they all saw the same thing. This is called confabulation and we will cover it on our courses!


It’s all in the details

Finally, if we are going to tell a series of lies to explain what happened, we will make up the major points of the story but will not think about the real fine details of it. Imagine a horse race where the fences are the details we make up to tell the story. We do not think we will need to tell about every blade of grass between the fences. As an interviewer, these details, the blades of grass are important. They are potentially checkable facts and therefore we can then tell if they are lies, confabulation or true. Hopefully then you can see that a confession should not be the focus of the interview. Obviously if you get one then that is fine. No matter what they say though, get detail, detail and more detail. Even if they confess we should check that out too. They may be lying to protect others.

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Ivey v Genting Casinos – A New Test For ‘dishonesty’

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Ruling Re-defines Dishonesty



In this final instalment we conclude our look at ‘dishonesty’. See our previous weeks instalments on Ruling Re-defines Dishonesty Points to Prove & Playing Cards “dishonestly”.

You can see now, I suspect, that if you watch the backs of the cards when they are dealt on the table, before any player looks at the card fronts that you can identify the high stakes cards as ones which the half diamond pattern is on the opposite side of the card back to the low stakes cards.

This was crucial in ‘guessing’ the winning cards. In addition, Cheung asked the dealer to shuffle the cards using a machine rather than passing them to the players to shuffle, again, no allegation that the players interfered with the card!

Security eventually realised what Ivey and Cheung had done which helped them to identify winning and losing hands and decided to freeze their £7.7m winnings.


The pair eventually went to the Supreme Court in 2017 in order to get a decision on whether or not their actions were ‘cheating’. When the Judge looked at the issue of ‘dishonesty’ he said that in this case it was clear that Ivey and Cheung had made the requests to the Casino to do certain acts and by doing so they said they had done nothing ‘dishonest’.

As we mentioned earlier, to prove dishonesty we must show that Ivey and Cheung had known they were acting dishonestly. They clearly did not think so.

The first check was to ask ‘did the average person believe they were dishonest?’  The Judge found the first part but then changed current thinking on dishonesty and threw out the second test as unnecessary. It is now sufficient to ask the ordinary person in the street if they thought it would be dishonest.


A fascinating story and one that is very pertinent to an investigator investigating ‘dishonesty’ offences.


As for me, I’m going to buy some playing cards and set up a game with a few friends!


If you need any more information or would be interested in one of our courses then please do not hesitate to contact us at the Sancus Office.





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Ivey v Genting Casinos – Playing Cards “dishonestly”

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Ruling Re-defines Dishonesty


Last weeks post looked at the importance of establishing the Points to Prove (P2P) and we introduced dishonesty as one of the P2P in the definition of theft.

Dishonesty in this context is taken to mean to prove someone’s actions were dishonest; you first had to show that their action would be deemed dishonest by the standard of the ordinary person. Then, you had to show that they also understood that their actions were dishonest.


Let us look at the Case of Phil Ivey whose outcome impacted on the above definition.

To give an overview of the story we first need to visit a colleague of Ivey, Cheung Yin Sun. Cheung is 40 years old, was brought up in China and has a high stakes gambling habit funded by her rich businessman father. Ten years ago, Cheung and a few friends visited MGM Casino in Las Vegas where her father had deposited $500,000 for her to use. During her stay a friend lost all of her money and asked if she could borrow $100,000. MGM gave her a loan that was underwritten by the supposedly wealthy Cheung. Unfortunately the loan was not repaid and MGM held Cheung liable. When she returned to the USA, 18 months later, Cheung was promptly arrested and imprisoned for 4 weeks. She took this “quite badly” and vowed revenge by taking as much money from MGM Casinos worldwide as she possibly could.


How did she do it? Cheung realised that in most Casinos the cards have a pattern printed on the reverse e.g. small diamonds. As the cards are manufactured and cut on a machine the pattern is often not symmetrical with, say, the pattern on the left only half a diamond and the pattern on the right was a full diamond; this was the key to her quest! Using this she was able to identify different cards which she used to her advantage and she toured the Casinos of the East making quite a bundle, eventually meeting up with Ivey.


In the gambling world, someone who gambles upwards of £500,000 per visit is known as a High Roller and the casino goes out of its way to keep these customers betting; free drinks, food and suites are the norm.  Ivey was no stranger to betting £2m, £3m or even £5m per visit and he is one of only 1500 people worldwide who regularly bet in these amounts. Cheung explained her findings to Ivey and so the plan developed.


In 2012 Ivey and Cheung enter an exclusive London Casino called Crockfords.  Ivey was immediately recognised and the Casino started to grant his wishes for his visit including a private room to play Baccarat ‘Macau Style’. Baccarat is a simple card game which has no skill involved, it is a card equivalent of a toss of a coin with the chances of winning 50:50 and Macau style means the players do not touch the cards so they cannot be then judged as manipulating the cards.




During the first visit, Ivey lost a large amount of money then left, informing the casino he would return the next day. Both Cheung and Ivey returned the next day and they started to win ‘big time!’ Overall they had amassed winnings of £7.7 million but the casino were alerted and had started to monitor the situation via CCTV.  Nothing untoward was discovered but the Casino intervened and told Ivey they were going to change the pack they were playing with. Ivey and Cheung left leaving security to investigate their secret.


In addition to the circumstances above the investigation revealed Cheung had asked for a Mandarin speaker to deal the cards and also she had made the unusual request that if they won a hand then the high stakes cards be turned around at 180 degrees.  Also, they had requested that instead of changing packs regularly they would use the same pack over the two days.


So was this dishonest in this case? What had they done that was actually dishonest? Was it possible to prove the two P2P of dishonesty?


Whether you investigate disciplinaries, misconduct or as in this case fraud, whether you are an HR Professional, an investigator or a line manager if you need to investigate you will need to interview…………..we can give you the skills.


We’ll conclude the investigation next week.



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Ivey v Genting Casinos – Points to Prove



Ruling Re-defines Dishonesty



Let me introduce myself, I’m Graham Jones, a retired detective and lead Investigative Skills Trainer for Sancus Solutions. Over the next three weeks I want to discuss the importance of establishing the ‘Points to Prove’ of an offence during an Investigative Interview and show how these are open to interpretation by the courts.

You will be aware, especially if you have been on one of our Investigation Courses, that if you are investigating an incident, whether it is a crime or otherwise, then you should firstly identify the relevant ‘Points to Prove’ (P2P). P2P are the parts of the rules or the law which defines the incident in question. It is the ‘definition’ of the incident.

Theft would be something like

  • Dishonestly
  • Appropriates
  • Property
  • Belonging to Another
  • Intending to Deprive the other of it.

Each part needs to be investigated. If the investigators can show or ‘prove’ that the subject/perpetrator has done each of the points then it shows that the offence/incident has been committed by the subject.

This is the same if your HR policy shows that an

  • Employee
  • has Attended Work
  • under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  • and being Unfit to Complete Their Work
  • to a Satisfactory Standard.

You break down the investigation into its component parts and put your findings forward for judgement. This is the same for ANY incident.




A recent Case which you may find of interest is one of a professional gambler, Phil Ivey, who appeared at the Supreme Court in the UK in November 2017. It hinges on the definition of ‘dishonest’.

Until October 2017 the leading case on the meaning of dishonesty in English criminal law was R v Ghosh [1982] EWCA Crim 2. In that case the supreme court determined a two stage process to show that someone’s actions were dishonest.

You first had to show that their action would be deemed dishonest by the standard of the ordinary person.

Then, show that they also understood that their actions were dishonest. Not always the simplest part of the test.

So next week we’ll expand on this case study and see how the definition has changed.

Best Graham


GSK Training – Dubai

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Graham Delivering Investigations Training in Dubai.

Following previous courses in Singapore and Shanghai Sancus lead Investigations trainer, Graham Jones, is out in Dubai this week presenting our tailored Investigations training course to GSK employees.This is part of a package of training for GSK that will see Graham visit client venues across the world.

Below are a few images from Day 2 of the course with all the delegates looking fully engaged with Grahams every word……….or totally mesmerised by his choice of shirt!

Good luck, Graham, so where next?

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GSK Training – Shanghai

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Our lead Investigations trainer, Graham Jones, has just returned from presenting his course to delegates from GSK in Shanghai. One delegate has taken the time to update Graham after putting their newly acquired interview skills into practice,


I’ve done a witness interview with a XX today and I used the 9-box interview plan, which worked so well!  I cannot help to telling you how excited I am to see how effective and powerful this tool is!

Because the interviewee is a XX, who’s very busy; I intended to cover more questions in a limited time period.  I prepared myself to ensure I don’t miss any point.  So I drafted a question list in my usual way and drew the key topics and questions in the 9 box way, as well.  During the quite intense interview, I had limited time to gather my thoughts together and I found that through the 9 box model, it was so easy to pick up the topics and questions and run/control the interview in a fluent way.  Everything became so logical and even moving from topic to topic was so smooth.

Thanks for the great training you delivered.  Life is a journey of learning.  I hope I can learn more from you in the future.

All the best!  JZ


GSK Investigations Course – Singapore

Sancus trainer is out in Singapore this week delivering the Investigations course to GSK. This is part of a truly international series of Investigation training he is delivering for GSK around the world………….where next Graham?