The tentacles of organised crime increasingly extend to sectors and institutions where criminal activity and corruption are inextricably linked.
It is currently estimated that 38,000 people are involved in organised crime in the UK, and such activities cost the economy anywhere between £20 and £30 billion per year. The UK Border Agency, police and prison service have been targeted by organised criminals. Social housing is exploited by organised criminals to facilitate drug trafficking and prostitution. The employment of illegal workers is regarded by the construction industry as the single biggest corruption threat to the sector as it damages fair competition.
How corruption facilitates organised crime
Organised criminals use corruption in many ways to facilitate their enterprises, for example through:
- Bribing a low-level official to facilitate people trafficking into the UK
- Infiltrating a call centre to enable identify theft, that can be used to open banks accounts through which illegitimate money is laundered
- Placing associates in housing associations in order to gain access to properties that can be used for prostitution
- Bribing a court official to gain details about witnesses, who can then be intimidated into withdrawing evidence
- Payment of unusually large fees to professional advisors who will exploit legal or tax loopholes without satisfying themselves as to the source of their clients’ wealth.
- Poor auditing of local authority procurement procedures can open the door to corrupt allocation of contracts
- Failure to investigate or prosecute apparently minor corruption offences can create a culture of impunity.
- Lax security over IT systems can allow criminals to access important information – for example, through blackmailing or intimidating a civilian worker in the police force.
In : Organised Crime
Tags: organised crime gangs mafia