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Case Studies

Cost of crimes

The social and economic cost of organised drugs supply to the UK is estimated to be £20 billion a year, according to a Home Office research document, ‘Understanding of organised crime‘.

By comparison, the scope of economic crime considered is only partial, covering only organised fraud against businesses and the public sector and organised illicit tobacco and cigarette supply. Money laundering is not estimated within this report given insufficient robust data with which to inform estimates. The scale of economic crime is estimated to be £14.4 billion; and the social and economic cost is estimated to be £8.4 billion. These estimates differ significantly because the
social and economic cost of illicit tobacco and cigarette supply is partial, considering only the lost tax to HMRC and some enforcement costs. Other costs, such as losses to legitimate businesses, or health costs as a result of using lower quality illicit goods, are not monetised in the report.

The total scale of organised fraud against businesses and the public sector in the UK in the year 2015 to 2016 is estimated to be £5.9 billion. The majority of the scale of organised fraud is made up of organised crime groups OCGs undertaking coordinated and systematic attacks on HMRC. This includes smuggling goods such as alcohol or tobacco, VAT repayment fraud and VAT missing trader intra-community fraud.

The scale of organised illicit tobacco supply is estimated to be £8.5 billion; it’s considered high profit, low risk by OCGs. Organised acquisitive crime (OAC) namely cash and valuables in transit robbery (CViT), distraction burglary, metal theft, plant theft, road freight crime and vehicle crime is estimated at £680 million; and the social and economic cost of OAC estimated to be £1.5 billion.

The estimated scale of organised IP (intellectual property) crime is £100 million; namely the counterfeiting and piracy of business software, CDs, digital music tracks, DVDs, digital film downloads, clothing, footwear, cosmetics, jewellery, watches, handbags, luggage, and sports goods.

Also covered are such crimes as metal theft, firearms, people smuggling and organised immigration crime.

For the 123-page report in full click here.


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