The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has announced the launch of a new Strategic Hub designed to explore and tackle serious and organised crime by way of high level research. The new hub will develop a world class research agenda that meets the needs of both policy makers and practitioners in the field.
The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research has been initiated in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK.
The harmful impacts of organised crime in the UK are becoming more visible, from new areas such as cyber crime, trafficking in cultural objects and match fixing through to traditional activities like drug trafficking.
The cost of organised crime in the UK is estimated to be at least £24 billion, with a significant impact on communities, families and individuals. Further afield, organised crime undermines development assistance and contributes to instability.
In response, the Home Office has developed the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and established the National Crime Agency. The strategy takes an holistic approach to organised crime, seeking to Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.
Addressing gaps in understanding
Despite the Government’s renewed focus on combating organised crime, there are still gaps in the understanding of the scale and nature of organised crime in the UK and overseas, the effectiveness of strategies to disrupt it and pathways into and out of organised criminality. These gaps undermine attempts to address organised crime on a global basis.
The new Strategic Hub will fill this knowledge gap. Bringing together academic researchers and policy makers, the hub will create greater connectivity between policy concerns and rigorous enquiry.
Initially, the Strategic Hub will work with partners and the academic community to assess what strategies are effective at disrupting organised crime, what criminal markets look like and where the vulnerabilities lie in the system. The Hub also aims to develop new methodologies to examine these and related issues.
Priorities will be examined by policy makers, academics and researchers during a conference to be held at RUSI on 8 December 2014.