The National Crime Agency has published its fourth annual public analysis of the nature and scale of serious and organised crime affecting the UK. The 2017 National Strategic Assessment has been put together using knowledge from across UK law enforcement, Government departments and the intelligence community.
For the first time, the threats have been categorised into three broad headings: Vulnerability (including child sexual exploitation and abuse, modern slavery and human trafficking and organised immigration crime), Prosperity (encompassing cyber crime, money laundering and other economic crime) and Commodity (including the illicit trade in firearms and drugs).
Observations from the 2017 assessment include the following key points:
*the exploitation of both general maritime and general aviation for organised immigration crime as well as commodity smuggling
*the scale of modern slavery and human trafficking is increasing steadily and the threat is growing
*corruption is becoming a key vulnerability, with corrupt workers at ports, airports and in the logistics sector facilitating breaches of border control and corrupt individuals working in the financial and legal sectors facilitating money laundering and fraud
*the rise of The Dark Web as an international marketplace for firearms and drugs
*the continued rise of social media opportunities for offenders driving an increase in the volume of child sexual exploitation referrals to law enforcement
The NCA’s deputy director general Matthew Horne said: “The NCA has a pivotal role to play in leading the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime. This assessment provides both ourselves and our policing and law enforcement partners with a sound understanding of the threats we face. ”
Horne continued: “What’s striking from this year’s assessment are the themes running through the crime types. Organised criminal networks are using online methods to defraud and extort, but also to facilitate the abuse of children and advertise the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. Similarly, the threat from corruption encompasses a huge range of sectors and professional enablers, from bank insiders and accountants involved in high-end money laundering through to port workers and delivery drivers facilitating drug trafficking. ”
In addition, Horne stated: “ Criminal networks themselves are diversifying and it’s not uncommon to find the same groups involved in trafficking people or illicit commodities and using the same methods or infrastructure. ”
Horne concluded: “These threats don’t exist in silos, and neither should our response. The National Strategic Assessment shows us how important a ‘whole system’ approach towards UK national security has become, with the NCA and its partners maximising the collective impact by working together to keep the public safe.”
*The full National Strategic Assessment is available to view at: www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/publications