NCA publishes latest analysis of UK crime threats

9 September2016

The National Crime Agency has published its third annual public-facing analysis of the serious and organised crime threats affecting the UK.

The pdf National Strategic Assessment (NSA) (2.77 MB) draws together knowledge from across the whole law enforcement community. It provides an objective picture of serious and organised crime threats, enabling UK law enforcement as a whole to prioritise, coordinate and target its response.

The top five threats for the year ahead, in no order of priority, are identified as organised immigration crime, cyber crime, child sexual exploitation and abuse, firearms, and high end money laundering.

Other threats covered by the report include modern slavery and human trafficking, bribery and corruption, drugs, economic crime, criminal use of identity and of internet technology, and foreign national offenders.

Observations in the 2016 assessment include:

  • A considerable increase in the use of encrypted communications by criminals across all threat areas
  • The emergence of younger and more technologically astute child sexual abuse offenders, using online services like the dark web to protect their anonymity
  • The likelihood that a move to paperless online processes in the financial sector and other public services will provide greater opportunities for criminals, and will push up the value of high quality false documents
  • The emergence of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks for extortion, driven in part by wider criminal understanding of their potential for profit
  • Migrants turning to people smugglers for all or part of their journeys as border controls become harder to circumvent without assistance
  • Trafficking of adult victims into labour exploitation surpassing trafficking for sexual exploitation


NCA Director General Lynne Owens said:

“The threat from serious and organised crime continues to evolve and has done so over the last year in ways that have attracted considerable and understandable public attention.

“Against this backdrop there have been major operational successes spanning multiple areas of crime. All these successes have been built on collaboration, which is fundamental both to our understanding of the threat and to our delivery of the most effective response.

“The National Strategic Assessment provides us with a very solid understanding of the threat from serious and organised crime for the year ahead, as we work together to have the maximum impact on the criminals damaging the UK and its interests overseas.”

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