Profiling organised criminals, disrupting the finances of criminal networks and establishing a new organised crime co-ordination centre are among the range of actions set out in the new strategy, announced by Home Office minister James Brokenshire today.
Organised crime costs the UK public between £20 billion and £40 billion each year and poses a risk to national security. Its effects are felt by individuals, communities, businesses and our economy on a daily basis.
The new strategy ‘Local to global: reducing the risk from organised crime’ aims to reduce opportunities for organised crime to take root, strengthen law enforcement and safeguard communities and businesses. It will place an emphasis on connecting crime fighting activity from the local to the global, at the border and overseas.
Minister for crime and security James Brokenshire said: ‘Organised crime is on the increase in the UK and we have to take strong measures to disrupt it. This strategy sets out how UK law enforcement will work harder at rooting out the problem at the earliest stage.
‘For too long organised criminals have thought they can get away with it. Whether its drugs or fraud, the effects are suffered by communities while costing our economy as much as £40 billion. It’s got to stop.
‘This new strategy provides a comprehensive national response across government, law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies.
‘It places an emphasis on preventing people from getting involved in organised crime, promoting awareness to enable the public to protect themselves, and provides a more coordinated approach to prosecution and disruption activity.
‘The strategy will pave the way for the National Crime Agency, galvanising all those with a role to play in tackling organised crime. We need to address the threat at a local, national and international level in order to make a lasting impact.’
The Association of Chief Police Officer’s lead for Crime, Chief Constable Jon Murphy said: ‘The Association of Chief Police Officers welcomes the launch of the government’s organised crime strategy. Alongside the formation of the National Crime Agency, the strategy will increase the impact and efficiency of law enforcement agencies in dealing with organised crime.
‘ACPO has worked closely with the Home Office to develop this strategy and believes it provides a clear direction for the future work of the police, all other law enforcement agencies and our partners in dealing with the problem of organised crime.
‘It also provides a welcome platform and opportunity to link into the neighbourhood policing effort against criminals who live in our communities, provide a negative role model and whose damaging impact is felt throughout our communities.’
New actions in the strategy include:
publishing a new public-facing UK Threat Assessment to inform the public of the threats from organised crime and encourage more vigilance
strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to recover assets and increasing our capacity to hit criminal finances
putting in place some of the key building blocks for the National Crime Agency (NCA), including the organised crime co-ordination centre and the development of organised crime group mapping
greater international collaboration - identifying an organised crime priority countries list and co-operating with key partners such as the European Union and the United States
targeting and disrupting so-called “front” businesses that criminals run that have large amounts of unpaid tax
conducting an assessment of the extent of corruption by organised criminals in the public and private sectors
developing a multi-agency approach to organised criminals in prison
The strategy has been prepared to cover the four-year period 2011 - 2015, and will have three key objectives. The first is to stem the opportunities for organised crime to take root, working in partnership with the Department for International Development, to build stability and reduce corruption in countries with criminal links to the UK.
The second is to strengthen law enforcement, with a particular focus on tackling criminal finances. Around half of all identified organised crime groups affecting the UK are involved in drugs trafficking and distribution, and many will be involved in money laundering activity. Tackling the criminal finances of these individuals will be crucial to dismantling criminal networks.
The third is to safeguard communities and businesses by raising awareness of the tactics used by organised criminals and providing the public and businesses with the information they need to protect themselves.
These objectives will be enhanced by the new operational commands of the NCA, which will result in a step change in fighting organised crime, by creating the right structure at a national level to combat this threat.
Notes to editors
1. There are around 38,000 organised criminals in the UK and around 6,000 organised crime groups (Policing in the 21st Century - Home Office 2010).
2. The estimated total cost of organised crime to the UK includes £17.6bn (trafficking of controlled drugs), £7.8bn (financial crime) and a proportion of the £27bn cost of all cyber crime. Research suggests that around six per cent of homicides have some link to, or are driven by, organised crime. There were an estimated 2,600 trafficked female victims of sexual exploitation in England and Wales during the 12 months from January 2009.
3. Knowledge of organised crime is provided by the United Kingdom Threat Assessment. It has previously been produced for a law enforcement audience. The government has said that once established in 2013, the NCA will be responsible for producing UKTA. In the mean time the Home Office will publish a new public-facing UKTA, beginning in Autumn 2011.
4. A Home Office research report looking at how partnership working can support local areas to tackle organised crime can be found here http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/horr56/.
5. ‘Local to global: reducing the risk from organised crime’ sets out the government’s plan for combating organised crime from 2011 to 2015.
Find out more about the National Crime Agency
For photos of seized assets, visit the Home Office Flickr pages by clicking on the link below.