Growing momentum in tackling serious organised crime

The UK Cabinet Office reported in 2018 that serious and organised crime (SOC) affects more UK citizens, more often, than any other national security threat. It costs the UK at least £37 billion annually.

It’s therefore quite right EMPAC is prioritising SOC in the research and innovation regional agenda. They way we’re doing that is through an operational and academic lead both actively working together on identifying new and better ways of tackling SOC in the East Midlands.  Those two leads are the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) Deputy Chief Constable Paul Gibson and Professor Dave Walsh of De Montfort University. 

The East Midlands Special Operations Unit has significant existing strengths, in pursuing offenders through prosecution and disruption, but this collaborative and co-production approach is about bringing more opportunities, new ways of thinking and new tactics to:
• prevent people from engaging in serious and organised crime
• protect victims, organisations and systems from its harms
• prepare for when it occurs, mitigating the impact

The region sees the importance of bringing all our joint knowledge and effort together for holistic maximum learning and impact. In many ways, whilst this involves recognising individual complexities, the mission here is to cut across individual crime types to identify the broader themes that affect vulnerability, in order to reduce risk and threat.

Priorities for policing in the East Midlands

The East Midlands have identified six key aspects that are of particular relevant to the region – understanding international links; understanding digital technologies; understanding OCG business models; protection from OCGs; what works; and developing a more agile law enforcement mindset.

A university-wide approach at De Montfort has brought together multiple academic disciplines (Psychology, Computer Science, Law, Accountancy, Education, Community and Youth, Business, Criminology, Policing and the Public Engagement Team) with a number of policing professional practitioners, who are specialists in SOC.

This ‘A Team’ of police-academic collaboration have set about hunting down more knowledge about potential links between national and international OCG networks, future crime types and getting ahead of criminal entrepreneurialism.

Ongoing joint effort

This group is continuing to meet to further probe key questions such as what are the current knowledge gaps?; what does policing not currently know?; and how can it best find out out and fill such knowledge gaps?; and all in as agile a way as possible.

There is an intention to jointly bid as academic researchers, and policing professionals, for external research funding in 2021.

If you feel you have some expertise or insight to contribute to this ongoing and vitally important collaborative enterprise, hosted at De Montfort university, Leicester, then get in touch with Professor Walsh at: –

See the latest reports here:- 

Interim Generic Update Report January 2020

Community Resilience Progress Report November 2020


Organisational Adaptability Progress Report December 2020


Intelligence Progress Report February 2021




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