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Crime assessment

Criminals are abusing technology and the impact of globalisation to adapt their methods of committing crime.

For the purposes of assessment the NCA group the threats into three:

Vulnerability – including child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT) and organised immigration crime (OIC);

Prosperity – including cybercrime, money laundering and other economic crime; and

Commodity – including the illicit trade in firearms and drugs.

On modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK, the scale is continually and gradually increasing, while a growing proportion of potential victims are claiming they have been exploited before arriving in the UK. This is likely to reflect the developing risks in transit countries, principally in North Africa, police say.

On money laundering, the UK is described by the NCA as a prime destination for corrupt foreign ‘Politically Exposed Persons’ to launder the proceeds of corruption, particularly those from Russia, Nigeria and Pakistan. As for cyber, UK cyber crime continues to rise in scale and complexity but under-reporting of data breaches continues to erode the NCA’s ability to make robust assessments of the scale and cost of network intrusions.

For the assessment in full visit the NCA website.


NCA Director General Lynne Owens said: “The National Crime Agency leads the response to serious and organised crime in the UK, protecting the public and targeting the criminals who have the biggest impact. We work closely with colleagues across law enforcement, and elsewhere, to do so.

“This year’s assessment shows that organised crime groups (OCGs) are exploiting digital technology, for instance using encryption to communicate, and dark web market places to aid their activities.

“Criminals are continuing to develop international connections to increase the reach of their activity, and to maximise profits. We are also seeing ever-increasing crossover between crime threats, with finance at the heart of this. Organised criminals involved in smuggling of people or firearms also supply drugs, and the relationship between organised immigration crime and modern slavery is becoming more apparent.

“Criminal groups seek to make as much money as possible from the suffering and exploitation of others, and continue to put the public at risk.

“The increasing sophistication of crime groups, coupled with the changing nature of their geographical reach, demonstrates more than ever the requirement for an increasingly co-ordinated response.

“Working alongside our law enforcement, intelligence and other partners, we are changing the way we operate to ensure the biggest possible impact. We will use this intelligence assessment to build on our operational successes and evidence why further investment in capabilities and capacity is necessary.”

Gregory Webb, CEO, Bromium says: “The threat of crime to businesses and people is growing and dark web platforms like Tor and the Invisible Internet Project offer criminals a way to evade law enforcement and commoditise cybercrime and other activities, like the sale of guns and drugs. This platform criminality model is productising cyber threats and making cybercrime as easy as shopping online. Not only is it easy to access cybercriminal tools, services and expertise: it means enterprises and governments alike are going to see more sophisticated, costly and disruptive attacks. It is equally easy for them to wash that money and convert it into cash – and the rise in use of unregulated, virtual currencies is making this even easier. We can’t solve this problem using old thinking or outdated technology. By focusing on new methods of cybersecurity that protect rather than detect, we believe we can make cybercrime a lot harder, allowing organisations and the security industry to disrupt this web of profit.”


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