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14 November 2018
The new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy needs to be backed by investment and resources if it is to have a significant impact, says West Midlands Federation chair Rich Cooke.
The activities of some 4,600 serious and organised crime groups cost the UK economy more than £37 billion a year, according to the National Crime Agency. That figure is up from £25bn five years ago.
The new strategy sets out how the Government aims to target and disrupt serious and organised criminals, who use violence and intimidation in communities to operate and prey on the most vulnerable in society, from victims of modern slavery and human trafficking to young people suffering sexual exploitation and abuse.
The strategy is backed by funding of at least £48 million in 2019 to 2020, but Rich says there needs to be more investment across the forces and agencies who will implement the strategy.
“We know that serious and organised crime affects more UK citizens and more often than any other national security threat,” he said. “It causes significant misery for many people, and it also costs the wider economy billions of pounds.
“It is vital that we have a strategy in place to deal with serious and organised crime but, like all areas of policing and law enforcement, it needs the proper investment if it is to make serious inroads.
“Investment in front-line and neighbourhood policing, for example, will allow officers to be the eyes and ears of their communities. We need to have a look at policing and investment as a whole if we are have a significant impact.”
John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PWEW), commented: “The ability of those on the front line has been severely diminished with far fewer police officers doing far more every day and we are at crisis point. We cannot be society’s social workers.”