Disrupting Organised Crime in the UK: Tackling Violence, Intimidation and Coercion

Lewis, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5567-3569, Beaumont, Daniel and Ewin, Rob (2020) Disrupting Organised Crime in the UK: Tackling Violence, Intimidation and Coercion. In: The Handbook of Collective Violence: Current Developments and Understanding. Routledge. ISBN 9780367186548

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Interventions are increasingly being designed to disrupt ongoing criminal activity rather than identify crimes that have already been committed (Innes & Sheptycki, 2004). The emerging emphasis on disrupting organised criminal groups can be contrasted with older enforcement led approaches, which were resource intensive and limited in their success (Kirby & Nailer, 2013). Rational choice theory (Cornish & Clarke, 1986) assumes that individuals adopt a rational perspective when engaging in illicit activity and can therefore be diverted away if the cost of doing so outweighs the benefits. This holds some premise for the disruption of organised criminal groups, providing that the complexities of this phenomena are better understood. Organised criminal networks are heterogenous and operate at varying levels (Kirby & Nailer, 2013), engage with other known associates and diversify into different types of crime (Galeotti, 2005); making assessment of their strategies problematic. There is a common understanding, nevertheless, that criminal groups are ultimately driven by profit with violence, intimidation and coercion administered to further their criminal purpose and obstruct the policing response to them (Dean, Fahsing & Gottschalk, 2010; Stelfox, 1996). Yet, it is this behaviour that makes members of organised criminal groups visible and susceptible to intervention, thereby making disruption viable.

The chapter will expand on this approach, defining organised crime before identifying a number of multi-agency strategies adopted to tackle behaviours, such as violence, often thought to be a vessel for maximising criminal entrepreneurship. There will be a focus on organised crime manifesting in the United Kingdom (UK), solely making reference to other countries for comparison purposes.

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