Agency calls for £2.7bn investment to combat organised crime

14 May 19

The UK needs £2.7bn to tackle the “chronic and corrosive” blight of organised crime, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Launching its National Strategic Assessment yesterday, the agency said that there are 181,000 offenders linked to organised crime in the UK – a group twice the size of the British Army.

To tackle this threat there must be investment of £2.7bn over the next three years to crack down on those who profit from crimes such as child sexual exploitation and drug trafficking and fraud, according to NCA director general Lynne Owens.

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.”

The NCA report warned that traditional perceptions of the organised crime groups are becoming “old-fashioned” with more dynamic groups of younger offenders using technology to carry out crimes.

“Professional enablers such as accountants, solicitors and those working in financial services are increasingly facilitating crimes with their expertise,” the agency said.

The annual assessment showed that financial losses from fraud soared by 32% between April and September 2018 and there were 3.6 million incidents of fraud reported in England and Wales in 2018.

The report also said that the number of victims of modern slavery have increased more than 80% since 2016.

John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “It is unacceptable that when funding is needed, policing goes to the chancellor with a begging bowl and receives nothing more than his loose change, and then we are asked to be grateful.

“Now is the time to sit up, listen and act – and give the police, and other UK law enforcement agencies, the funding and support they desperately need.”

Security minister Ben Wallace said: “Our Serious and Organised Crime Strategy published in November 2018 set out how we will mobilise the full force of the state to target and disrupt serious and organised crime.

“As criminals’ use of technology evolves so must our response. We continue to invest in the right capabilities and tools in law enforcement, across government and in partnerships with the private sector.”

Read Dominic Brady’s feature for PF on how the public sector is faring in tackling modern slavery.

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