The Government are today launching a consultation on two proposals to strengthen the law on serious and organised crime.
Law enforcement agencies frequently encounter articles which they suspect are being used in serious crime but which they are unable to act on under existing legislation. The Government are therefore consulting on a proposal to create new offences to criminalise the making, modification, supply, offer to supply and possession of articles for use in serious crime. Such articles include, for example, vehicle concealments or “hides” used to transport illicit commodities, sophisticated and bespoke encrypted communication devices, templates for 3D-printing firearms components, and pill presses used to make illicit drugs.
The Government are also consulting on proposals to improve and strengthen the existing powers on serious crime prevention orders under the Serious Crime Act 2007. This includes enabling a broader set of law enforcement bodies to apply for such orders, as well as strengthening their monitoring arrangements.
The consultation seeks views to inform the Government’s policy development. The consultation will run for eight weeks and will close on 21 March 2023. If taken forward, both proposals would require changes in legislation when Parliamentary time allows.
A copy of the consultation document and two related impact assessments will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are available on www.gov.uk.
The Government are also announcing a package of measures to strengthen how police forces in England and Wales tackle serious and organised crime and protect our communities from harm. The approach is being led jointly by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s serious and organised crime lead, with implementation supported by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the National Crime Agency, the College of Policing and the Local Government Association.
We are investing around £2 million to support the roll-out of “Clear, Hold, Build”, which is an evidence-based, end-to-end local partnership approach that will reduce serious and organised crime in the highest harm hotspot areas in England and Wales. This includes new serious and organised crime community co-ordinators in the Regional Organised Crime Units to support police forces to deliver the most effective and efficient partnership response, and a performance management and information system to enhance police forces’ ability to understand, capture and respond to their local serious and organised crime threat.
Later this year the Government also plan to publish a new strategy to update the “Serious and Organised Crime Strategy”, which was published in 2018.