Multi-agency organised crime task force recovered £1.4m last year

A multi-agency task force last year recovered around £1.4 million under confiscation orders, helped rescue dozens of potential victims of modern slavery, carried out thousands of drug seizures and disrupted more than 70 organised crime gangs.

The latest Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) annual report, published today, has outlined how a multi-agency approach delivered positive results in the fight against crime during 2018/19, while warning of the potential impact of Brexit on cross-border crime.

Claire Archibold, director of safer communities at the Department of Justice, said: “We are sending out a clear message that organised criminals will be pursued though the courts and their assets will be stripped.

“These criminals offer nothing to the wider community and the Organised Crime Task Force remains determined to confront their every action, working in partnership to create a safe community where we respect the law and each other.

“I want to congratulate all the agencies for their dedication and professionalism in making serious inroads in the fight against these organised criminal gangs. Their commitment is in stark contrast to those who would exploit the vulnerable in our society.”

The report states that OCTF operations have helped rescue 59 potential victims of modern slavery, recorded 7,490 drug seizure incidents, and results in 72 organised crime groups being frustrated, disrupted or dismantled.

The report acknowledges the potential for Brexit to impact on the nature and scale of organised crime as a result of new tariff differentials or non-tariff barriers, with the potential for increased levels of smuggling and other criminal activity.

The OCTF assessment is that a no-deal scenario will lead to changes in criminal behaviours, with the emergence of potential new criminal markets for previously legitimate commodities.

Criminal activity facilitated by technology continues to expand rapidly, and cyber related fraud is a major growth area. There continues to be a rise in scam-type frauds utilising both modern technological methods as well as those that are more traditional.

As well as highlighting OCTF successes, the report provides advice and guidance to the general public about the practical steps that they can take to protect themselves from organised crime and to mitigate against the harm it causes to businesses and communities.

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