Security threats

Global Security Threats: Find out about the threat of serious and organised crime around the world.

Find out about security threats around the world, from terrorism, serious crime and kidnap to natural disasters, overseas emergencies and cyber crime.

Global Security Threats

Serious & Organised Crime

Armed security
  • The volume and scope of serious and organised crime has increased over recent years around the world. Including, the levels of violence being used to commit certain crimes, or uphold the perceived authority of domestic and transnational criminal organisations. 

  • Serious and organised criminals have adopted new ways to commit and profit from crime, due to the accessibility and rise of technology. With the aid of technology, criminal organisations have become increasingly able to adapt to new ways of exploiting people around the world with much greater impunity. 

Serious and organised crime in any form is a threat faced across the global. It is present at street level and above and can affect anyone without warning. Whether an attack is opportunist in nature or targeted, it can range from financial and computer enabled crime, to drug gang violence, armed robbery and organised vehicle theft, all without concern for its victims.

The definition of serious and organised crime may vary according to which country you are operation in, generally it is defined as, individuals planning, coordinating and committing serious offences, whether individually, in groups or as part of transnational networks. The categories of serious offences may also vary but are considered as the following: illegal firearms; illegal drugs; fraud; cyber crime; money laundering and other economic crime; bribery and corruption; organised immigration crime; modern slavery and human trafficking; and child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Serious and organised crime affects an immense amount of citizens across the globe, substantially more than is widely known and generally accounts for more than any other national security threat, broadly leading to more deaths each year than most other national security threats combined. It costs governments a vast amount of money and requires an enormous amount of resources. It has a corrosive impact on public services, communities, the reputation of a country and effects the way of life.

Crime in many countries may be considered lower in recent years than it previously was, although globally there has been a sharp increase in some low volume, high harm offences, i.e serious gang violence and serious violence during robbery. It has been assessed that the threat from serious and organised crime is increasing around the globe and serious and organised criminals are continually looking for ways to exploit new victims and using new methods to generate money, particularly electronically, online. A large amount of serious and organised crime remains hidden or underreported, meaning the true scale is likely to be greater than is currently know. Although the impact may often be difficult to identify, the threat is reality and occurs every day all around the general public, around the globe.

Serious and organised criminals prey on unprotected targets and the most vulnerable in society, including young children, and their abuse can have a devastating, life-long effect on their victims. They target members of the public to defraud, manipulate and exploit, including the selling of deadly substances and the theft of personal data in ruthless pursuit of financial gain. Intimidation is used to create fear within communities and to undermine the legitimacy of the state they are operating within. Enabled by their lawyers and accountants, corrupt elites and criminals that set up fake companies to help them conceal criminal profits, fund extravagant lifestyles and invest in further criminality.

Serious and organised crime knows no borders, and many offenders operate as part of large networks spanning multiple countries. Technological change allows criminals to operate more freely, sell drugs and hack into private and national infrastructure more easily from all around the world, while being able to communicate much more quickly and securely through encrypted phones and devices. Continuously evolving technology has meant that exploitation is becoming easier and more widespread, from gathering information about a target to the abuse and grooming of victims through social media and other sites. Serious and organised criminals also exploit vulnerabilities in the increasing number of global trade and transport routes to smuggle drugs, firearms and people.

Criminals have become more effective and have learnt to become more adaptable, resilient and are operating within larger networks and consider their groups to be 'above the law' of each country they operate in, around the world. In some countries around the globe, criminals have created safe havens where serious and organised crime, corruption and the state are interlinked and self-serving. This creates instability and undermines the reach of the law, hindering the ability of nation states to protect themselves from other national security threats such as terrorism and hostile state activity. Corruption, in particular, hinders the ability of lawful government and communities to help the world’s poorest people, reduce poverty and promote global prosperity and adds to the overall deep seated threat of serious and organised crime around the globe. 


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