Positive Approaches to Tackling TOC from the National Perspective

Law enforcement responses to TOC must evolve and in many cases are evolving in an effort to meet the expanding needs of national security” There appears to be a growing collective acceptance in the developed world that there needs to be increased improvement at the national level in regard to intelligence gathering, information sharing, targeting of the criminals at play and the economies in which they are active, improved investigation, prosecution, and management of offenders, and the use of preventative partnerships. While less-developed nations often share the same view, capacity and competence can be lacking in how they tackle TOC. The use of informants and whistle blowers is becoming more common, as is the use of special investigative techniques. Furthermore, many countries are writing national strategies to tackle TOC domestically. For example, the UK’s strategy follows the four ‘p’s: ‘pursue, prevent, protect, and prepare’, while the Scottish underpin their strategy with four ‘d’s: ‘divert, disrupt, deter, and detect’” It has been accepted, and is evident within these strategies, amongst others, that for law enforcement to effectively tackle TOC a multipronged approach is required, including reactive and proactive strategies. ‘Reactive’ strategies are best described as policing responses that take place after the act, when a criminal act comes to the attention of law enforcement. Conversely, ‘proactive’ policies are those initiated before an act has even been committed in order to reduce opportunities for TOC to take hold.

Proactive approaches are imperative to policing TOC. Although TOC is often viewed as violent serious crime, citizens rarely make formal complaints about it and, because many of its victims are often seen as perpetrators, it can often be seen as victimless. As a result, cases of TOC and the extent to which it is endemic in communities often only come to the fore when police proactively investigate such crimes.[1] [2] This makes reactive policies limited in their ability to tackle TOC. Nonetheless such responses need to be strong, to clearly demonstrate to offenders that there will be an effective and efficient response if one is suspected of committing such an act. That being said, effective policing of TOC requires a higher level of proactivity. This involves law enforcement actively seeking out criminality that has yet to come to their notice. Such an approach can require a range of tools, resources, and expert skills to be truly effective. These can include electronic surveillance, undercover operations, the use of informants, etc. Furthermore, as technology and communications methods change, so too has the need for evolution in the tools used by law enforcement. While the use of such tools is paramount to tackling TOC, there are some inherent risks with using them. Some of these tools will be discussed in the next section of this chapter. It should be noted that the order in which these tools are presented in no way reflects their priority or effectiveness in controlling TOC.

  • [1] UNODC, Globalization of Crime, cited in note 2 above.
  • [2] Howard Abadinsky, Organised Crime, 7th edn, Belmont, California, Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.
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