The National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a comprehensive study of what it describes as ‘the deadliest threat facing the nation’ – Serious and Organised Crime (SOC).
Its National Strategic Assessment (NSA) highlights the growth of child abuse, modern slavery, ‘County Lines’ drug supply and financial fraud. It estimates that SOC involves at least 181,000 offenders, costs the UK economy £37 billion a year and resulted in 4,826 drug-related deaths in 2017.
The NSA recommends a £2.7bn investment in law enforcement to combat SOC over the next three years and proposes that the priorities for an operational response should be to target:
- – those who exploit the vulnerable through child sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking, servitude, fraud and other forms of abuse;
- – those who dominate communities and chase profits in the criminal marketplace using violence or criminal reputation in the supply of drugs and firearms; and
- – those who undermine the UK’s economy, integrity, infrastructure and institutions through their criminality.
Director General, Lynne Owens, 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. Enhancing our capabilities is critical to our national security. If we don’t, the whole of UK law enforcement, and therefore the public, will feel the consequences.”