“…organised crime harms more people than terrorism.” This is the staggering but very real statistic quoted in a piece in the Guardian today on the work of the UK’s National Crime Agency.
The Agency was set up five years ago to amalgamate the work of various other departments and organisations including the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency, and has a remit to tackle virtually any and all organised or large-scale crime, from smuggling to child sex via prostitution and bank fraud. And thanks to a chronic lack of funding and the archaic policing system in the UK, it’s finding it very hard work.
Part of the problem is that crime, and the gangs that run it, develops constantly, taking advantage of new technology and the opening up of international routes for global trade. The other part is the odd, inherited structure of the UK police force, which is divided into lots of local (county) units and a few national ones, many of which duplicate each others’ work.
The article, titled “Organised crime in the UK is bigger than ever before. Can the police catch up?”, is a lengthy and somewhat depressing read. But it’s essential material for anyone interested in, or writing about, the police response to organised crime in this country. Just don’t expect any easy answers.