24 May 2019

The Serious and Organised Crime Profile 2018

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The National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2018 produced by the National Crime Agency provides a vivid profile of serious and organised crime across the UK and the threats, both new one and the old which we face.

These threat areas have been divided into 3 main categories;

  • Vulnerability – Child Sexual Exploitation & Abuse (CSEA), Organised Immigration Crime (OIC) and Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking (MSHT)
  • Prosperity – Money Laundering, Fraud & Other Economic Crime, Bribery, International Corruption & Sanctions Evasion, Cyber Crime
  • Commodities – Firearms and Drugs

It may at first glance appear to be a document primarily aimed at the law enforcement and intelligence community but the fight against crime is a real matter for us all. In our forthcoming set of briefing notes, we will set out how serious and organised crime harms all communities, preys on the most vulnerable in society and how new partnerships like with Connaught Law can help tackle this menace.

This is where Connaught Law is leading the way with it’s new Serious and White Collar Crime Unit. The unit has a number of former senior officers from the law enforcement community with deep investigative, forensic and intelligence experience. They provide expertise in defence and prosecution in an ever-evolving serious and organised crime landscape.

In this briefing we will provide a glimpse into the threat area of ‘Prosperity’ and the Key Judgements as set out within the strategic assessment 2018.

  1. Money Laundering

  • There is no reliable estimate of the total value of laundered funds that impacts on the UK. However, given the volume of financial transactions transiting the UK, there is a realistic possibility the scale of money laundering impacting the UK annually is in the hundreds of billions of pounds.
  • The ease with which UK companies can be opened, and the appearance of legitimacy that they provide, means they are used extensively to launder money derived both from criminal activity in the UK and from overseas.
  • Criminal exploitation of accounting and legal professionals, particularly those involved with trust and company service provision, continues to pose a significant threat.
  • Money laundering through the capital markets is an evolving threat.
  • Trade based money laundering (TBML) is a complex global issue and a key method of money laundering impacting on the UK.
  • A small but growing number of criminals are laundering money using cryptocurrencies.

This is particularly important to the business, charity and professional sector which can be misused or manipulated to facilitate serious crime.  We offer advice to businesses and charities to prevent them becoming targets or falling foul of scams. For the professionals and their organisations we stress test human and corporate resilience to becoming exploited and help put in place safeguards to increase their resistance to attacks.

  1. Fraud and Other Economic Crime

  • Fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK. The Crime Survey of England and Wales 2017 indicated that there were 3.4 million incidents of fraud in the financial year ending March 2017
  • Our understanding of fraud in the UK is hampered by under-reporting; less than 20% of incidents are reported to the police.
  • Data breaches continue to be a key enabler of fraud. Personal and financial information obtained in a breach can be used to commit frauds affecting individuals, the private and public sector

In a data driven environment and where rich personal and financial exists it is imperative to ensure this is safeguarded. For example, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is a European Union Directive which came into force when 25.05.18 and replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Our team on experts can help you check and test your compliance and strengthen your security posture to prevent you being exploited.

  1. International Bribery, Corruption and Sanctions Evasion

  • The UK remains a prime destination for foreign corrupt Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to invest in. Russia, Nigeria and Pakistan are the most commonly seen source countries for PEPs investing in the UK
  • Some UK registered companies pay bribes overseas in order to conduct business
  • The ease of opening UK companies means they are used frequently to enable corrupt activity. Companies based in British Overseas Territories are also used both to disguise ownership and to conceal corrupt payments

The offences are clear and strict. For example improperly securing a contract, extending an existing contract or obtaining sensitive information means the offence of International Bribery is committed. We can help you be clear on what is improper and help defend you by demonstrating the measures you put in place were designed to prevent any improper activity.

Advisory and Representative Serious and White Collar Services

Our criminal defence services understand the complexity of the law, particularly in relation to absolute offences and those which cross multiple jurisdictions. These elements are crucial correctly understanding the precise nature of accusations when the are made, the circumstances and actions leading to any arrest or enforcement and a targeted disclosure requirement. All three elements are essential in understanding the case and working out the most effective legal strategy. Furthermore, we understand the toll that such investigations can take and our investigators have the investigative experience to ensure that the right lines of inquiry are followed and done so, expeditiously and diligently.

Our expertise in these areas can also help prevent people from falling victim to sophisticated scams which cleverly snarl people by using their lack of knowledge in making them complicit in a crime.

We also can help protect people who are being exploited through intimidation, threats or blackmail by ensuring the right protection is placed around people with special schemes and measures.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

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