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Organised Crime

Volume 512: debated on Monday 28 June 2010

Tackling serious organised crime requires effective co-operation and co-ordination across law enforcement. We will work with police forces to strengthen arrangements to deal with serious crime and other cross-boundary policing challenges.

I am pleased that Norfolk constabulary is collaborating with other police forces in the region to work against the scourge of serious and organised crime. However, I understand that, on a national level, that collaboration is not yet as strong as it is in counter-terrorism. What plans do we have to put serious and organised crime fighting on a similar footing?

I know of the close interest that my hon. Friend takes in these matters, having been the author of a publication that proposed better arrangements to deal with serious crime. We will not pursue the Labour party’s policy of compulsory mergers of police forces. We believe that it is necessary for police forces to collaborate better to deal with organised crime, just as better collaboration has been achieved in counter-terrorism activity, and that is the policy that we shall pursue.

Does the Minister accept that the internet is increasingly being used by those who get involved in serious and organised crime? Does he agree that a partnership approach, making use of the talents and expertise of people in business, is essential to reduce the extent of internet use for the purposes of crime?

I know that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), is already in correspondence with the right hon. Gentleman about this matter. E-crime is a serious and growing problem, and it must make sense to tackle it on a partnership basis, with law enforcement agencies and business working together, and that is what we will do.