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Policing Lower Levels of Organised Crime in England and Wales

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: Dated: Pages: 0-406
P Stelfox
Date Published
14 pages
This article draws on two British studies to illustrate the extent to which organized crime exists in the United Kingdom at lower levels than the traditional police focus on the "top echelon" of national and international criminal networks.
In developing an effective police response to "organized crime," many practitioners look to the experience of Northern Ireland and interagency models of cooperation. Recent action against organized offending in the Province have been politically driven, relying on both emergency legislation and the support of a Terrorist Finance Unit that was integrated within the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1996. Reviews of emergency legislation have sustained the profile of paramilitary funding, and the Northern Ireland Office has focused upon fears that ex- paramilitaries would become "organized mafia-type" offenders. This article shows that an organizational response and a policing strategy within Northern Ireland directed against "terrorist funding" is now the integrated criminal police response to all forms of crime in Northern Ireland. With the creation of the National Crime Squad and a statutory National Criminal Intelligence Service in April 1998, the prospect of these developments being extended throughout the United Kingdom are apparent. Despite the additional political momentum to enhance European-wide action against "international organized crime," this paper cautions that recent British interagency initiatives lack transparency and pose major challenges to existing structures of accountability for law enforcement agencies. The investigative implications and assets of the JAG model of policing were touted as having the ability to compound investigative and operational police powers and resources; however, any broadening of the JAG arrangements from the current Metropolitan confines will clearly fall outside the formal mechanisms of police accountability. 19 notes and 37 references