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Organised crime – more pervasive, more powerful and more complex than ever before

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Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, Jason Clare today released Organised Crime in Australia 2013 – the Australian Crime Commission’s report on serious and organised crime in Australia.

Mr Clare launched the report with Australian Crime Commission Chief Executive Officer John Lawler, Acting Australian Federal Police Commissioner Michael Phelan and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Michael Pezzullo at the International Serious and Organised Crime conference in Brisbane.

The report concludes that organised crime is more pervasive, more powerful and more complex than ever before.

“Organised crime worldwide makes more than $870 billion every year. That’s bigger than the GDP of Indonesia. If organised crime was a country it would be in the G20.” Mr Clare said.

The Australian Crime Commission estimates that organised crime costs the Australian economy alone $15 billion each year.

Technology has increased the reach of organised crime. The internet enables the establishment of virtual marketplaces for illegal and illicit goods such as drugs, firearms, identification documents and child exploitation material.

“These darknets mean that users of illicit drugs no longer have to seek out dealers on the street. They can order the drug of their choice on the net and have it delivered to their door. This is a real threat that has the potential to grow exponentially.”

The same organised criminals that are targeting Australia are also targeting other countries – and most of them are based overseas.

Last year the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police met with law enforcement agencies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand and compared their top 20 criminal target lists.

The results were telling – we are all targeting the same people.

The report concludes that to effectively target organised crime, law enforcement agencies need to work together – here and overseas.

One demonstration of this is the success of the recently established National Organised Crime Taskforce. It was established by the Australian Crime Commission board in 2011 to disrupt and dismantle serious organised crime syndicates here and overseas.

It is made up of Commonwealth and State law enforcement agencies and supported by the Australian intelligence community. One of its first targets was a Belgian based crime syndicate allegedly responsible for the world’s largest importation of ecstasy – 4.4 tonnes imported to Melbourne in 2008, in tinned tomato cans.

In 2008, the Australian Federal Police arrested 16 members of the syndicate – based in Australia.

In May this year, the National Organised Crime Taskforce helped Belgian police dismantle the entire syndicate – arresting 27 members of the syndicate.

Organised Crime in Australia 2013 is an unclassified version of the ACC’s Organised Crime Threat Assessment, and provides the context in which organised crime in Australia operates. It gives an overview of each of the key illicit markets in Australia, and of the activities that fundamentally enable organised crime.

A copy of the report is available at www.crimecommission.gov.au.

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