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Serious and Organised Crime in the UK. Anyone read the NAO report?

Yokel

LE
How many of these international crime gangs, particularly Cyber crime, operate with the local authorities turning a blind eye to the activities?

For example - attacks against UK academia?

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued an alert to the academic sector following a spate of online attacks against UK schools, colleges and universities.

Cyber security experts have today stepped up support for UK schools, colleges, and universities following a spate of online attacks with the potential to derail their preparations for the new term.

The NCSC issued an alert to the sector containing a number of steps they can take to keep cyber criminals out of their networks, following a recent spike in ransomware attacks.
 
How many of these international crime gangs, particularly Cyber crime, operate with the local authorities turning a blind eye to the activities?

For example - attacks against UK academia?

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued an alert to the academic sector following a spate of online attacks against UK schools, colleges and universities.

Cyber security experts have today stepped up support for UK schools, colleges, and universities following a spate of online attacks with the potential to derail their preparations for the new term.

The NCSC issued an alert to the sector containing a number of steps they can take to keep cyber criminals out of their networks, following a recent spike in ransomware attacks.
I was visiting a well-known northern University last week and they believe that their access control system had been hacked (turnstiles etc), along with some building control systems (eg lifts, HVAC). It may have just been a 'local' attack by a former student, or something much more sinister. Luckily the impact was led to a little inconvenience, but the potential for loss was very high - especially if it coincided with the arrival of Freshers.
 
Set up a hybrid organisation of Police, Border force and the DSS.
Go through the country with a fine toothed comb and expel ANYONE here illegally or foreign nationals involved in crime.
If they re enter the UK then they will be incarcerated and be forced to do hard labour for a minimum of 25 years.

Then shoot them.

Bleeding heart Nancy boys like you are the reason we no longer have the Empire. Half-measures are useless, man! We all know what needs to happen. ;)

d6s9x7u-9835541b-9122-49f1-bb61-28eaebd6f664.jpg
 
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I'm doing a little bit of work for a client on Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) in the UK. SOC is regarded as the fastest growing area of crime in the UK (overall, crime has been falling) and is regarded as the most damaging to society. We've all had the TV Licence renewal emails, or the Nigerian Scams - or the calls about compulsory Covid-19 testing. But what about the fake pharmaceuticals, the fake car parts, the callow and cowered eastern Europeans at the car wash, who are figuratively and literally laundering money, the thousands of illegal immigrants using criminal gangs to enter the UK unlawfully?

If people are interested, it's well worth reading last year's National Audit Office Report on the Home Office and NCA performance. The report is sobering reading (and doesn't pull any punches about the sources of the threats). However, the findings about Government and agency performances are characterised by failing targets, fragmented budgets, inability to measure success.



I wonder what the Arrse Consultancy Service response is to these challenges? (and please no suggestions of mounting GPMGs on the White Cliffs above Dover)

IIRC someone here is ex-NCA and I thought it might be you. It is useful to have a bit of insight from those who have worked in the agency. I appreciate that if anyone here is currently working in the NCA they might not wish to be forthcoming due to PERSEC/OPSEC.

I had a quick read through the NAO link and what was interesting to note was although the report is from last year the important figures given at the beginning. 4,500 odd crime groups and a socio/economic cost to the country c£37bn and that cost figure is from 2015-2016 so that data is four years old. The cost will be a lot higher now. There are 4,500 plus OCGs and about the same number of officers in the NCA and that includes the estate managers and HR bods and all the support services as well as the frontline officers such as the investigators, intelligence officers, firearms teams, surveillance officers, undercover officers, HUMINT officers, tech ops, forensics and other specialists.

Some of the types of criminality that are listed in that report include:
  • modern slavery and human trafficking
  • organised immigration crime
  • child sexual exploitation and child abuse
  • money laundering
  • fraud and other economic crime
  • bribery and corruption
  • cyber-crime
  • illegal firearms
  • illegal drugs
That's a lot of challenges for so few people to take on and on such a small budget - a little over £400 million - given the economic impact that those crimes have. Not to say the negative impact that it has on peoples' lives. It touches every one of us, even if it might not be immediately apparent. The NCA is clearly under resourced both in terms of manpower and financial investment.

One of the problems I see the NCA has is that it hides its light under a bushel. How many average members of the general public know anything about the NCA and what it does? Just last weekend the NCA had a success seizing one of the largest ever consignments of heroin in the UK at the port of Felixstowe. There was this report on the BBC website Class A drugs 'worth £120m' seized in Felixstowe but it was restricted to the regional news section and didn't make the main news page. I didn't see it appear on the broadcast media.

Then these:
From Sep 2019 - Heroin worth £120m found at Felixstowe in 'UK's biggest haul'
From Aug 2019 - Heroin 'worth £40m' found at Felixstowe docks

Another problem the NCA appears to have is attracting and retaining talent. Grade for grade the NCA lags behind the police in remuneration at every level. (Data available on NCA website under publications). There seems to be an attrition rate of about 7% (excluding retirees) and a big reason for this looks to be the pay. The National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Body (document opens as a PDF download so I can't link to it) also says that high numbers of firearms officers leave to join the police - presumably because the pay is a lot higher.

A third problem I think the NCA has is its identity. What does it see itself as? It only takes a few minutes of Google-fu to see that a large amount of its role is given over to intelligence gathering and analysis, particularly covert intelligence, with regard to serious and organised crime, whereas the Security Service has the same function when it comes anti-terrorism and counter-intelligence. MI5, to the best of my knowledge, has no powers of arrest and relies upon SB and regular plod for that whereas NCA Officers do have powers of arrest (subject to role and function within the organisation). It seems to me that the NCA has a foot in both camps as an intelligence agency and also a national law enforcement agency. But - how often do you see a uniformed NCA Officer unless they are about to go kinetic? I've never seen one - ever.
 
The NCA badges are velcro'd on in case of another name change, as in every couple of years. How many friends have left my largest non-metropolitan force and returned within a year, disappointed? They want to be at the shovel end, not the over-arching acronym-acronym vaguely-steering but claiming a lot agency, which is not where the work gets done. A commendation from the Home Secretary is all well and good, but CW came back because the work is vocational and he wanted to believe in what he was doing, and that he was actually having an affect on the society and community he lived in. All these committed people returned because they could find greater threats in an inner-city sector of one eighth of a square mile, and deal with them robustly, than they were targeted upon by the NCA nationwide.
 
The NCA is meant to be that body (but subject to the rule of law eg warrants). But they are still limited to acting through police forces who have different priorities eg fly tipping versus interrupting drug supply lines passing through their county

I think you'll find that the NCA is entirely independent of any police force and is not required to act through them in any respect.

However, I would suggest that there are many circumstances where a lot of the behind-the-scenes investigation and intelligence gathering is done by the NCA and given over to the police and other agencies such as Border Force to make the arrest, and who then get the glory.
 
The last presentation by the NCA about "We had this job, right" embarrassed the presenter, but deliver he did in the knowledge that even the PC's, let alone the detectives present, had dealt with more complex jobs whilst under pressure from their routine commitments.
 
What I mean is set up a stand alone organisation but with the access to the information and the powers that those organisations hold.
Essentially a modern day version of the Gestapo, no warrants needed, just the ability to put the OC people in fear of the door going in at any moment.
The ability to seize and sell ANY assets held by the criminal individual.
Have you had Hugo Boss design the uniforms?
 
Quality of recruiting staff of the right calibre, with the right skills and actually retaining them has been a problem since the days of SOCA.
In a nutshell, non-detectives trying to do a detective's job.
A problem as old as the hills.

(And the professional criminals are nowadays more professional with more motivation and better kit than those opposing them.)
 
Have you had Hugo Boss design the uniforms?

Nobody wears grey on grey since at least Feb 2020. It's so passe. Go black, great for work, doesn't show after-action skidmarks and, pop on a string of pearls, you're ready for night-life.
 
Going back many years (that is, to the 60s) policing was firmly based on prevention. To an accountant, a police officer spending all day on a beat, where there is little or no crime, is inefficient. But there's little crime precisely because he's there.
A mistake was made in the 80s of jobs like park keeper and bus conductor being ended. These jobs populated public space with an official presence and deterred anti social behaviour.
You mention the police Sgt in that documentary and I nearly made that point in my first reply: some police find routine policing boring, frankly. They want instead to be on this or that squad, investigating high profile crime. Blair's PCSO idea was, imo, a good one as it filled the gap left by the seeming lack of interest in the more routine parts of policing. We still have PCSO where I live and I think their presence is appreciated.

That's a different type of policing and will have no effect on serious and organised crime. It's like comparing apples and oranges. No doubt the type of policing you describe has its place but SOC and against OCGs is not it.

Even the iconic criminals and gangsters of the '60s & '70s, the Krays, Richardsons et al are a magnitude apart from todays' OCGs. In the '60s it was all protection rackets, horse and dog racing scams, gambling dens and betting syndicates, bank and post office robberies. The criminal gangs largely kept themselves to themselves and were content with generally ruling a small patch of turf, bringing in a bit of money and living a flamboyant lifestyle.. Even the Italian mob wasn't interested in the UK as it was too low level and not enough money to be made. That's all changed and the biggest problems now are drugs, drugs and more drugs, firearms, child abuse and exploitation, organised immigration crime, people trafficking and cyber crime. The OCGs now are various flavours of Mafia, Turks, Pikeys as well as the more traditional family-based crime groups. The methods of communication and levels of organisation are beyond compare. What worked 30, 40, 50 years ago against crime gangs is not going to work now.
 
The NCA badges are velcro'd on in case of another name change, as in every couple of years. How many friends have left my largest non-metropolitan force and returned within a year, disappointed? They want to be at the shovel end, not the over-arching acronym-acronym vaguely-steering but claiming a lot agency, which is not where the work gets done. A commendation from the Home Secretary is all well and good, but CW came back because the work is vocational and he wanted to believe in what he was doing, and that he was actually having an affect on the society and community he lived in. All these committed people returned because they could find greater threats in an inner-city sector of one eighth of a square mile, and deal with them robustly, than they were targeted upon by the NCA nationwide.

It's a totally different role and a totally different type of law enforcement. The NCA don't do policing because they are not police. We've had similar arguments about armed police vs infantry soldiers. The tools of the trade may be similar i.e. send a small projectile at a rate of knots towards a soft, fleshy target but that's about where the similarity ends. Same difference between the navy, army and air force - all military organisations but doing different roles in different ways using different methods and training.
 
To the O.P. follow the money. The serious players always have a legit business and usually the employee they most trust handles the day to day for activities you are interested in. They can't use banks with the £1,000 threshold now prevalent, so they need a valid way to do things. Car dealerships are a very good earner for them. Especially high value second hand vehicles. However, that's for the local town kingpins. The authorities only go with local headline grabbing raids of grow houses or low level dealers and never go after the local or regional kingpins unless they are very lucky. I remember one specific premises in the East Midlands which provided services to four counties ( that was a regional hub) and was a tyre business. They were appointment only (so that stopped walk in's but they did actual legit work), and they had the type of filtration equipment usually found in a nuclear bunker. It operated for 8 years before someone tipped off a member of the plod that wasn't on the take. Since my initiation, observing into the ways and means of the local villainy, the 3rd generation (I'm in my 50's) isn't very smart. The 1st generation when I was in my twenties were true professionals, the second generation well, it all went to their heads so they tended to be a bit flash, when just a few months before they were finding it hard to even cover the rent on their council flat. They are presently serving long stretches at Her Majesty's pleasure. So it all depends if you are interested in how it's done on a local level (pretty crap), how it's done on a regional level (still slick) or how areas are assigned to different groups (occasionally changes owing to retirement or people not getting along).
 
Quality of recruiting staff of the right calibre, with the right skills and actually retaining them has been a problem since the days of SOCA.
In a nutshell, non-detectives trying to do a detective's job.
A problem as old as the hills.

(And the professional criminals are nowadays more professional with more motivation and better kit than those opposing them.)
As far as I am aware NCA investigators do PIP training at the College of Policing and it will be to exactly the same standard as it is the same qualification that plod gets.

You are right to say that crims are more professional now and may well be better equipped. Let's face it, they are earning extreme amounts of money and law enforcement budgets can't keep up. They invest in anti and counter surveillance techniques and go to extreme measures to hide their activities, including the use of modern technology.

They actively seek to infiltrate and corrupt law enforcement officers. When importing vast amounts of illegal drugs they are prepared to lose some shipments to detection by law enforcement agencies as an inevitable cost of doing business and build it into their profit margin. They are even happy to sacrifice a small shipment as a diversion to allow larger shipments through, knowing the sacrificed shipment will tie up law enforcement for many hours.
 

ACAB

LE
What I mean is set up a stand alone organisation but with the access to the information and the powers that those organisations hold.
Essentially a modern day version of the Gestapo, no warrants needed, just the ability to put the OC people in fear of the door going in at any moment.
The ability to seize and sell ANY assets held by the criminal individual.
We can do that once we are free of the clutches of the EU.
 
As far as I am aware NCA investigators do PIP training at the College of Policing and it will be to exactly the same standard as it is the same qualification that plod gets.

And welcome, "Professionalling The Investigation Process 1" or PIP2, you are allowed through the door but here is where the learning starts. Buckle down kid, we're going to blow your socks off.
 
I think you'll find that the NCA is entirely independent of any police force and is not required to act through them in any respect.

However, I would suggest that there are many circumstances where a lot of the behind-the-scenes investigation and intelligence gathering is done by the NCA and given over to the police and other agencies such as Border Force to make the arrest, and who then get the glory.
My work is not on the NCA per se, it is on the Home Office approach to SOC and that's where it is fragmented across over 100 different departments and agencies (I'm not NCA nor ex NCA/SOCA, either).
 
Quality of recruiting staff of the right calibre, with the right skills and actually retaining them has been a problem since the days of SOCA.
In a nutshell, non-detectives trying to do a detective's job.
A problem as old as the hills.

(And the professional criminals are nowadays more professional with more motivation and better kit than those opposing them.)

On he CS jobs website I've seen adverts from the NCA for investigators but not detectives. Is there a difference between the nature of the roles beyond the job title itself?
 
This encapsulated the challenge: 76% of funding spent on SOC goes on the pursuing...arrested, prosecuting etc - with only 4% spent on preventing it...

Serious question for you.

How do you prevent Serious Organised Crime ?

The clue is in the name. It is usually well organised and a tightly run ship.

You cannot really prevent it, unless you get lucky. That is why the largest part of the budget goes on pursuing, arresting and prosecuting.
 

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