Serious and Organised Crime
Serious and organised crime affects more people in the UK, more often, than any other national security threat. It leads to more deaths in the UK each year than all other national security threats combined, including terrorism. It costs the country at least £37 billion every year.
While serious and organised crime is an international issue, it has a massive impact here in Bedfordshire. The county’s population, demographics and transport links mean organised crime has a bigger impact here than it does in similar sized areas.
A major piece of police research with their partners estimates that more than £100 million is spent on cocaine and cannabis in the county every year.
Almost 400 victims of modern slavery were identified in Bedfordshire last year – the fifth highest of any police force area in England and Wales, that’s more than were identified in places such as Merseyside.
Organised crime is the driver for many other crime types, even if people do not recognise it at first.
Most firearms discharges in Bedfordshire are linked to the illegal drugs trade, as are many stabbings and other incidents of serious youth violence.
Anti-social behaviour is often by driven by illegal drugs, while many burglaries and incidents of shoplifting are either committed by organised crime groups or by people with addiction issues who steal in order to buy drugs.
We are increasingly seeing organised crime groups involved in fraud targeting our communities. Bedfordshire Police is also running a major operation targeting organised crime in Luton, establishing how these groups are involved in things like money laundering and widespread benefit fraud.
Tackling organised crime is everyone’s business. If we can stop organised crime, all of our communities would be a lot safer.