UK: Organised Crime Agency to be set up



The UK has announced that a new agency is to be set up which combines the existing National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and the National Crime Squad who already work together to which will be added the investigative branches of Customs and the Immigration Service. One of the aims is to end the isoloation of Customs and Immigration Services from policing work. Significantly the Special Branch and MI5 work on counter terrorism is not included. The NCIS will remain the international conduit for requests from the EU and elsewhere.

The statement in the "Factsheet" that: "70% of illegal migrants are facilitated by organised crime groups, according to Europol estimates" and that "500,000 illegal migrants are estimated to enter the EU every year" is pure guess work


Home Office Press Release

NEW UK-WIDE ORGANISED CRIME AGENCY POOLING EXPERTISE TO TRACK DOWN THE CRIME BOSSES

Reference: 058/2004 - Date: 9 Feb 2004 10:38

An elite squad of specialist investigators will take on the new challenge of fighting modern organised crime in the 21st century, the Home Secretary announced today.

Modern organised criminals operate across global networks using hi-tech communications and technology. The new UK-wide Serious Organised Crime Agency will bring together world-class experts including hi-tech and financial specialists and those with criminal intelligence and investigative skills. It will exploit hi-tech 21st century technology to uncover the new wave of crime bosses whose lucrative illegal enterprises range from drug trafficking and people smuggling through to fraud and money laundering.

The Government also announced today that a comprehensive strategy to target organised criminals, including tough new legislation, will be set out shortly.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said:

"Organised criminals make their millions from human misery - trafficking in drugs and people, engaging in fraud and extortion. They control criminal
empires that reach from the other side of the world to the dealer on the street corner. They believe they are beyond the reach of justice and out of our
sights. That is not the case - no-one should be untraceable and no-one should be untouchable. This new agency will focus on tracking them down.

"Modern organised criminals are sophisticated, organised and well-resourced entrepreneurs. We need to respond to this changing criminal threat, harness the skills of non-traditional investigators like accountants and legal experts and combine these with our world-class detectives and intelligence officers. We must become better organised, more sophisticated and more technologically capable than the criminals. We must not just keep pace but have to get ahead of them.

"The Government has already tightened the focus on organised criminality but we cannot stand still. As part of our strategy to keep ahead of the game it
is time to move onto the next stage. Following consultation with key bodies we have agreed the way forward on important structural changes, forging a
new body best placed to tackle the 21st century crime challenge.

"Combining the UK’s best intelligence expertise with our investigative operational talent, the new agency will co-operate closely with police forces
while taking national responsibility for combating national and international criminal groups. It will work hand in glove with the security services and target
those who are causing the greatest harm to our communities with their evil trades.

"The damage inflicted on our communities by organised crime groups is real and tangible. These people trade in misery and fear for the sake of profit.
People traffickers exploit vulnerable people and are responsible for 70% of illegal migrants to the EU according to Europol estimates.

"Organised drugs traffickers import the heroin and cocaine which ends up on our streets. The drug addict, trapped into a cycle of crime to pay for his habit, steals from his neighbours. Organised crime is not victimless, it affect all of us. Organised criminals should be under no illusion, there is no hiding place from the law.

"There will be no relaxation in our existing efforts to tackle organised crime while we put in place the new structures. Our existing organised crime
agencies will continue combating organised crime with determination, professionalism and above all, with continued success."

Organised crime and its pernicious effects impact on the UK’s communities, causing crime and creating a climate of fear. Organised criminals make money by creating markets for their trade, which in turn creates victims of crime. For example, one kilo of heroin trafficked and sold on a UK street can result in 220 victims of burglary as £250,000 of property is stolen by addicts to fuel their habit.

A policy paper, to be published next month, will set out the Government’s comprehensive strategy to tackle organised crime and arrangements for the new agency in more detail.

Notes to Editors:

1. The single organised crime agency will bring together the responsibilities which currently fall to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad, Home Office responsibilities for organised immigration crime and the investigation and intelligence responsibilities of HM Customs and Excise in tackling serious drug trafficking and recovering related criminal assets. It will be centrally funded.

2.A Taskforce is being set up to consider the most appropriate form of governance for the single agency. It will comprise representatives of each organisation that will make up the single organised crime agency, will consult widely with stakeholders and report to Ministers within a month.

3.The Government will be appointing an executive search agency immediately to help in the quest for a Chairman and Director-General.

4.The earliest legislative opportunity will be sought to seek Parliament’s approval for the necessary legislative changes needed to create the new agency.


FACTSHEET

ORGANISED CRIME AND ITS IMPACTS

WHAT IS ORGANISED CRIME?

Organised crime groups are essentially businesses that exist to make money. The players at the top end pose a unique threat. The more sophisticated crime groups are those who cause the most harm to the UK.

Organised criminals will resort to extreme violence, intimidation and corruption to protect their businesses. They often display detailed awareness of law enforcement methods and use counter-measures including sophisticated counter-surveillance techniques and elaborate money laundering arrangements.

The two most profitable and harmful enterprises controlled by organised crime groups are drugs trafficking and people smuggling.

The economic and social costs of organised crime may be up to £40 billion per year. That is equivalent to the GDP of New Zealand and more than three times the GDP of Luxemberg.

Drugs trafficking

UK crack and heroin markets are estimated to be worth £3 billion per annum

Problem users of crack cocaine and heroin need to generate an illegal income of around £21,000 - £25,000 per year to pay for their habits

280,000 problem drug users cause around half of all crime

Every £1 spent on heroin is estimated to generate about £4 of economic and social cost.

People Smuggling

Global profits from people smuggling are estimated to be $10 billion annually

70% of illegal migrants are facilitated by organised crime groups, according to Europol estimates

500,000 illegal migrants are estimated to enter the EU every year

People smugglers charge a fee of around £11,000 per person

Published: 9 Feb 2004


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