My first priority as Home Secretary is to keep the public safe. Today I have published a new, revised and updated, Serious and Organised Crime Strategy. The strategy has been laid before Parliament as Command Paper (Cm 9718), and copies are available in the Vote Office and on gov.uk.
Serious and organised crime affects more UK citizens, more often, than any other national security threat. Its perpetrators ruthlessly target the most vulnerable, ruining lives and blighting communities. Their activities cost us at least £37 billion each year and have a corrosive impact on our public services, communities, reputation and way of life.
Since the previous strategy was published in 2013, we have made significant progress in creating the powers, partnerships and law enforcement structures we need to respond to the threat. The law enforcement community, and the National Crime Agency in particular, has an impressive, and sustained track record of pursuing serious and organised criminals and bringing them to justice. But the threat we face has grown increasingly complex over the past five years. Criminals and networks are quick to exploit the rate of technological change and globalisation, whether it is grooming children online, using malware to steal personal data or moving illegal goods, people and money across borders. They have learnt to become more adaptable and resilient. Our response must continue to adapt to new challenges.
The revised strategy follows a comprehensive cross-government review, led by the Home Office. It sets out the government’s new approach to prevent serious and organised crime, build our defences against it, track down the perpetrators, from child sex offenders to corrupt elites, and bring them to justice. We will allow no safe space for these people, their networks or their illicit money in our society.
Our new approach will be to target the highest harm networks and the most dangerous and determined criminals exploiting vulnerable people, using all the powers and levers available to the state to deny them access to money, assets and infrastructure. But we will not achieve our aim through disruption alone. We will also work with the public, businesses and communities to help stop them from being targeted by criminals and support those who are; and we will intervene early with those at risk of being drawn into criminality.
We will invest at least £48 million in 2019/20 in law enforcement capabilities to strengthen efforts to tackle illicit finance, which will enhance our overall response to serious and organised crime, including additional investment in the multi-agency National Economic Crime Centre. We will pilot new approaches to preventing people engaging in serious and organised crime and build community resilience against it. We will establish a new national tasking framework for law enforcement. We will improve engagement with the private sector, particularly the information and communications technology industry. We will also expand our overseas capabilities, including establishing a new network of overseas policy specialists.
The new strategy will align our efforts to tackle serious and organised crime as one cohesive system. We will equip the whole of government, the private sector, communities and individual citizens to play their part in a single collective endeavour.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: