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National Strategic Assessmentof Serious and Organised Crime 2015

1. The National Strategic Assessment brings together a comprehensive picture of the risk - how serious and organised crime affects the UK and its interests. This document informs both the national response – what the priorities are and what action will be taken, and the expected results – how success will be measured

.2. On behalf of UK law enforcement the NCA’s National Intelligence Hub (NIH) has drawn together the articulation of the risk. The NIH gathers and analyses all relevant intelligence material from the NCA’s own sources and those of its partners and has produced this document through consultation and collaboration with partners.

3. This involved wide consultation across law enforcement, government and the agencies including police forces in England and Wales, Police Service Northern Ireland, Police Scotland, Regional Organised Crime Units, Border Force, National Offender Management Service, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Serious Fraud Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, Immigration Enforcement, Cabinet Office, Home Office and GCHQ.

4. Serious and organised crime is a national security threat which has an impact on almost every aspect of the UK’s wellbeing. Threats such as money laundering, fraud and corruption damage the nation’s financial security and reputation, reducing the UK’s prosperity and attractiveness as a place to do business. Cyber attacks threaten commercial activity and companies’ financial stability and put the security of personal information at risk. Many of the products and services provided by cyber criminals are available for use by extremists, state actors and hacktivists, while the criminal markets supplying firearms, false documents and smuggling routes are easily exploitable by terrorists.

5. Serious and organised crime causes thousands of fatalities in the UK every year, including from drug use, high-risk illegal migration methods, and criminal use of firearms. The psychological harm from child sexual abuse is felt for years, impacting on the livelihood of children/young people and the future adult population. Individuals, often the most vulnerable, may be financially ruined by criminals stealing their life savings through fraudulent investment schemes.

6. The spread of crime can severely undermine the cohesiveness of communities and can become pervasive, with criminals trading illegal commodities without fear of discovery or being reported. In such circumstances criminal activity can become the accepted norm.

7. The cost of serious and organised crime to the UK was assessed in the past at £24 billion and is now likely to be higher. The loss in tax revenue directly impacts on public finances and confidence in the Government’s ability to manage them, while businesses also suffer, losing billions of pounds to fraud each year. In many cases, the crime is enabled by corruption; at the macro level this can undermine inward investment in the UK and, like money laundering, jeopardise the integrity of the UK as an international financial centre.

8. Technology has created a range of new opportunities for criminals. It has increased the number of ways some traditional crimes can be carried out and provided criminals with much more sophisticated enablers in all threat areas. The sharing of indecent images of children, for example, is now almost entirely enabled by the internet.

9. The threat from serious and organised crime is international. Commodities such as drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods are sourced from right across the world, and Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) often have a presence in multiple jurisdictions. The global communications infrastructure enables criminals to operate across geographic boundaries, to target the UK from a distance, or to reach from the UK into other countries, undermining the UK’s international reputation.

10. Although serious and organised criminals, in most cases, will not want to be associated with extremists for fear of coming under additional scrutiny, there is a risk of extremists seeking to exploit criminal contacts, for example for financial and logistical support or to source firearms and false documents.