The NAO report on tackling serious and organised crime (SOC) provides valuable analysis of the threat facing the UK, and underscores the need for a response that is both properly structured and adequately resourced.
SOC presents a chronic threat to the UK, and has a corrosive effect on our communities and our economy. It affects more UK citizens, more frequently than any other national security threat, killing more of our citizens every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.
Advances in technology, continued criminal exploitation of international borders, and a greater propensity for violence among many perpetrators, mean that SOC is also increasing in both scale and complexity.
The report recognises this evolution in the threat across the system. There are substantial overlaps between different crime types, such as drugs, violence and firearms, or bribery, corruption and human trafficking. As a result of the NCA’s increased understanding of these overlaps, we have, working with law enforcement colleagues, developed a range of cross cutting priorities that enable us to target the criminals causing the most harm.
Demand on the NCA is already high, and continues to grow. However, there has never been a dedicated funding stream for SOC, and we welcome the NAO’s recognition that substantial improvements to funding arrangements are needed. These would enable us to build capabilities in areas such as digital forensics, covert surveillance and financial investigations. To deliver maximum impact, it is vital that the NCA, and the whole system, have the right capabilities at the right time.