UK

Organised crime chronic and corrosive to the UK - National Crime Agency

Police and NCA officers Image copyright NCA

The threat of organised crime is "chronic and corrosive" to the UK and more money is needed to tackle it, according to the National Crime Agency.

Head of the agency Lynne Owens said organised criminals were killing more citizens per year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.

She said offenders took advantage of the ever-changing face of technology to dominate local communities.

The government said it invested in the right tools to fight organised crime.

But the NCA is calling for "significant new investment" to combat it.

On Tuesday, the agency will launch its annual national strategic assessment (NSA), which exposes how organised criminals are exploiting advances in technology.

Adopting new methods, and using these alongside old-style violence, organised criminals commit a multitude of crimes, dominate communities and chase profits, the NSA will show.

Image copyright PA
Image caption NCA director-general Lynne Owens says more investment is needed to fight organised crime

"Against a backdrop of globalisation, extremism and technological advances, serious and organised crime is changing fast and law enforcement needs significant new investment to help combat it," Ms Owens said.

"This is the most comprehensive assessment we have ever produced and describes in detail the growing and ever-changing nature of the threat posed by serious and organised crime - to individuals, to communities and to wider society."

The NSA draws on information and intelligence from sources across law enforcement, as well as many public and private sector organisations, the NCA said.

The NCA is the agency charged with apprehending those who pose the most serious risk to the UK.

In response to the calls, the government said it would "mobilise the full force of the state" to tackle serious and organised crime, as it set out in its strategy published in November last year.

Security minister Ben Wallace said serious and organised crime was "a fast-evolving and highly complex threat to our national security", impacting on people, communities and businesses.

"As criminals' use of technology evolves so must our response. We continue to invest in the right capabilities and tools in law enforcement, across government and in partnership with the private sector," he added.

The government estimates serious and organised crime costs the UK economy around £37bn a year.

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