"Serious and organised crime is the most deadly national security threat faced by the UK"

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

Home Secretary (2018)

Serious and organised crime affects more UK citizens, more often, than any other national security threat and leads to more deaths in the UK each year than all other national security threats combined

It costs the UK at least £37 billion annually


Economic crime is a broad category of illegal activity, including:

  • Fraud

  • Corruption

  • Money laundering

  • Tax evasion

There were 3.3 million fraud incidents in the year ending June 2018, amounting to almost a third of all crimes.

The overall scale of economic crime is estimated to be £14.4 billion per year, with the cost to businesses and the public sector from organised fraud no less than £5.9 billion per year.

Technological Advances

Advances in technology will continue to transform the future of crime.


Rapid development of new information and communication technologies, especially the introduction of 5G mobile communications, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, is likely to

present opportunities for criminal exploitation

Anonymity and Speed

The use of technologies such as the Dark Web, encryption, virtual private networks and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, will support fast, ‘secure’ and anonymous operating environments that facilitate all levels of criminality.

The increasingly pervasive nature of these technologies will allow less skilled and resourced criminals to gain access to markets and tools that were previously out of their reach.

In 2018 the nca WAS aware of over 4,600 organised crime groups operating in the UK

Yet, much serious and organised crime remains hidden (child sexual exploitation and abuse, modern slavery) or underreported (fraud, cyber crime) meaning the true scale is difficult to measure and likely to be much greater

Today's technology enables criminals to easily share indecent images of children, sell drugs and break into national infrastructure 

Child sex offenders are becoming more sophisticated, using social media, image and file sharing sites, gaming sites and dating sites to groom potential victims

In response to law enforcement efforts to apprehend them, criminals are using encryption, anonymisation and destruction measures on the dark web and the open internet

The number of referrals to the NCA relating to online child sexual exploitation and abuse has increased by 700% in the last four years

What is 'Serious and Organised Crime'?

The main categories of serious offences covered by the term are:

Illegal Drugs



Illegal Firearms

Bribery and Corruption

Economic Crime e.g: Money Laundering 

Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Organised Immigration Crime

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Money Laundering

The UK's role as a global financial centre and the world’s largest centre for cross-border banking makes the UK vulnerable to money laundering

There is a realistic possibility that the scale of money laundering impacting the UK annually is in the tens of billions of pounds.


This presents significant reputational risk to the integrity of the UK’s financial sector, which is essential for global trade and our long‑term prosperity

Professional Enablers

Professionals such as lawyers and accountants are an important part of the response to serious and organised crime.


However, whether complicit, negligent or unwitting, professional enablers are also key facilitators in the money laundering process and often crucial in integrating illicit funds into the UK and global banking systems.

In November 2018, The Serious and Organised Crime Strategy was presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department by Command of Her Majesty

...but who is Accountable and Responsible for tackling ‘the most deadly national security threat faced by the UK’ and ensuring effective implementation of this strategy, including governance and performance?

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