181,000 UK offenders fuelling ‘chronic and corrosive’ threat from serious and organised crime
There are at least 181,000 offenders linked to serious and organised crime (SOC) in the UK, the National Crime Agency has revealed.
A £2.7 billion investment in law enforcement is needed to combat SOC over the next three years, NCA director general Lynne Owens said today as she released the National Strategic Assessment (NSA).
She said: “Serious and organised crime in the UK is chronic and corrosive, its scale is truly staggering.
“It kills more people every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined. SOC affects more UK citizens, more frequently than any other national security threat. And it costs the UK at least £37bn a year – equivalent to nearly £2000 per family.
“We need significant further investment to keep pace with the growing scale and complexity.”
She added: “The organised criminals of today are indiscriminate – they care less about what types of crime they’re involved in, as long as it makes them a profit.
“These groups are preying on the most vulnerable in society, including young children and the elderly – those most unable to protect themselves.”
The NSA states that the traditional idea of organised crime groups (OCGs) is becoming old-fashioned.
Hierarchies and infrastructure of old-style OCGs have fragmented into more dynamic groups of younger offenders who use technology and capitalise on networking to carry out multiple types of crime while still employing extreme violence.
Professional enablers such as accountants, solicitors and those working in financial services are also increasingly facilitating crimes with their expertise.
And use of the dark web and encryption to cloak offending have also grown significantly, with cryptocurrenices increasingly used to launder dirty money.
Ms Owens said: “Visible, front-line policing is vital to public safety, but the reality is that we will not defeat serious and organised crime with beat officers alone.
“Some of the capabilities we need are most effectively and efficiently delivered at the local or regional level. The NCA must deliver others on a national basis, providing the right agencies with the right capabilities at the right time to deliver maximum impact.
“The choice is stark. Failing to invest will result in the gradual erosion of our capabilities and our ability to protect the public.”