Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research

Lead Research Organisation: Royal United Services Institute
Department Name: Homeland Security and Resilience

Abstract

In December 2014, RUSI launched a Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research to develop a world class research agenda that meets the needs of policymakers. With the support of government agencies and Research Councils UK, RUSI is eager to build the momentum behind the Strategic Hub to overcome the fragmented knowledge base on organised crime and contribute to policy solutions.

The increased visibility of organised crime and the recognition of the cost to the UK has resulted in new strategies to respond to criminal activity. The Home Office has developed the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and established the National Crime Agency. The new strategy takes a holistic approach to organised crime, seeking to Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

Despite renewed energy to combat organised crime, significant knowledge gaps remain. The 2011 Home Office report, 'Future Directions in Organised Crime Research' recognised that the understanding of the scale, impacts, costs and victims of organised crime was inadequate, and an understanding of the individuals engaged in organised crime, including their relationships and the markets they operate within, was lacking. The report pointed to the need to evaluate existing interventions to address organised crime, to develop a better evidence base around drivers, and understand the changing nature of organised crime and future areas of concern.

Academic research on organised crime has been expanding, which provides an avenue to fill some of these knowledge gaps. Without being driven by a particular policy agenda, academic researchers have the freedom and flexibility to engage with a wide variety of areas, determining which areas are important and warrant further investigation. The emphasis on empirical data provides rich and detailed analysis of how organised crime manifests in different environments, who is involved, and the tensions that arise within organised criminal activity. While organised crime is a growing area of research for academics, much of the research that has emerged is disconnected from the needs of policymakers.

Policy development and scholarly analysis proceed on different tracks. The freedom that underpins academic research can mean that it is disconnected from the needs of policymakers. Instead research may advance theoretical debates which do not enhance responses to organised crime. As a result, there is much to be gained from a dialogue between the two. Academic analysis can improve approaches to organised crime, and provide a deeper understanding of the phenomena, while policymakers and practitioners elucidate problem areas and where further analysis is required, ensuring that academic investigation has a significant impact.

RUSI is well positioned to bridge this gap. With a strong research background and an extensive network of academics working on organised crime, RUSI is engaged in and connected to the growing body of academic research in this area. RUSI also works closely with government agencies addressing organised crime, ensuring a detailed understanding of policy needs.

The Strategic Hub was launched at a conference on 8 December 2014, bringing together policymakers, practitioners and academics to discuss the challenges they face and where further research and analysis is needed. The conference generated an enthusiastic response, and RUSI has created a database of over 200 academics, 65 policymakers and 25 practitioners working on organised crime. This proposal is seeking support to maintain the momentum of the Hub and continue to build the network.

With support from the ESRC, RUSI will build the network and through a series of workshops and other events, transform existing academic research into useful products for policymakers. The Hub also seeks to influence further academic research to ensure it meets policy needs. Additional funding will be sourced from other funders to pursue specific research projects that emerge from the Hub.

Planned Impact

The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime research aims to build a dialogue between policy development and academic research. RUSI is well positioned to bridge this gap. With a strong research background and an extensive network of academics working on organised crime, RUSI is engaged in and connected to the growing body of academic research in this area. RUSI also works closely with government agencies addressing organised crime, ensuring a detailed understanding of policy needs.

Bridging the gap between policy and research has a significant impact potential. Academic analysis can improve approaches to organised crime, and provide a deeper understanding of the phenomena, while policymakers and practitioners elucidate problem areas and where further analysis is required, ensuring that academic investigation has a significant impact.

The Strategic Hub was launched at a conference on 8 December 2014, which brought together policymakers, practitioners and academic researchers to discuss the challenges they face and discuss where further research and analysis is needed. The conference generated an enthusiastic response, and RUSI has created a database of over 200 academics, 65 policymakers and 25 practitioners working on organised crime.

With ESRC support, RUSI will continue to build the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research. By identifying and prioritising key research questions that address government knowledge gaps, the Hub aims to make academic research more targeted at policy needs. By improving communication and collaboration between researchers, policymakers and practitioners the Hub will bridge the gap between the different groups ensuring that understandings of organised crime are maximised and targeted at key threats to the UK. The Hub will also enhance public understandings of organised crime and the threat it poses.

Publications

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Connie Agius (2018) An Honour Killing in Australia

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Diorella Islas (2016) Where is all the Coca Going?

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Strategic Hub For Organised Crime Research (SHOC) (2017) Preventing Organised Crime European Approaches and Responses in Practice and Policy

 
Description The main aims of the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) were to facilitate knowledge exchange and build relationships between the policymaker, practitioner and academic communities. In this sense, unlike most other ESRC-funded grants, SHOC did not typically carry out research; rather, by bringing these different communities together, SHOC helped identify and prioritise key research questions for government and for the academic community, while improving communication and collaboration between these communities to the benefit of overall policy and operational interventions against serious and organised crime.

In this context, the principal value of SHOC has been to open up new research questions and create new networks, collaborations and partnerships focused on the joint strategic assessment of prominent serious and organised crime issues. Crucially, SHOC has ensured that the research questions considered by academic communities meet the needs of policymakers, and, in turn, that policymakers and practitioners are made aware of the latest research from academia in a timely manner, such that this can influence policy.

Several new avenues for collaborative research were identified through SHOC activities. Indeed, a dedicated session was set aside to identify research gaps at each of the 22 workshops and conferences SHOC convened during the grant period. For example, a SHOC workshop from July 2017 identified a gap in the UK government's understanding of the harm caused by SOC and how SOC data could be better handled. This informed the government's updated Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) Strategy, published in November 2018. Similarly, a SHOC workshop in April 2018 identified key gaps in the government's understanding of serious and organised crime, for example in terms of the threats and opportunities posed by new technologies such as the dark web and the internet of things. This fed into the development of the Home Office's official research priorities for SOC, published in February 2019. Moreover, a 2018 SHOC workshop on measuring the scale of money laundering (ML) in the UK highlighted the need for further research on whether a precise estimate of money laundering is necessary, how this could best be developed from a methodological perspective, and how this would guide efforts to tackle money laundering. The workshop led to the production of a RUSI briefing paper, published in February 2019, arguing that many of the objectives that policymakers look to fulfil can be achieved without a definitive money laundering estimate.

SHOC has also created new networks, collaborations and partnerships. Apart from the SHOC network itself, which counts more than 170 practitioners, policymakers and academics working on organised crime, SHOC also partnered with Aston University and Northumbria University to create the UK-EU Security and Criminal Justice Cooperation (JUEST) Network, aimed at encouraging multidisciplinary research to influence the development and implementation of the future EU-UK security and criminal justice relationship. SHOC activities also led directly to a partnership between an academic at the University of Sussex and the police, resulting in the development of a tool to help police identify and safeguard potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Finally, SHOC's role in developing knowledge exchange and collaboration between different communities has enabled it to advance collective knowledge in terms of best practice in the development of academic-law enforcement partnerships. It has found that these partnerships are typically successful when data is made more accessible to academics, when there is established trust between partners, and when both communities are involved in the co-production of the research. The full findings in relation to this area are available to all SHOC members.
Exploitation Route As mentioned previously, the aim of SHOC was not to conduct research per se, but to facilitate knowledge exchange and build relationships between the policymaker, practitioner and academic communities. As a result, it will not be a set of academics findings that are taken forward after the grant for SHOC ends, but the knowledge exchanged and the relationships formed through SHOC activities.

On the one hand, law enforcement practitioners and policymakers will take forward the knowledge they have gained from ongoing dialogue over a prolonged period on the latest academic research on organised crime, as well as the contacts and networks they have developed, and knowledge gained on best practice in working with academic partners. Indeed, in some cases, these meetings have led to fruitful long-term partnerships between academics and police; in other cases, they have exposed policymakers to academic findings that have helped to shape government policy on organised crime.

On the other hand, academics will take forward the lessons they have learned about the research needs of policymakers and practitioners, and a better understanding of the specific challenges they face. Academics will also continue to benefit from the durable networks they have made through SHOC activities - both with other academics, but also with policymakers and practitioners. These networks could continue to lead to new research opportunities and partnerships in the future, and ensure that academic research has a more direct, positive impact on government efforts to tackle organised crime in the UK and beyond.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

URL https://shoc.rusi.org/
 
Description The central aim of the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) was to bridge the gap between policy development and academic research. The principal way of achieving this was through the convening of workshops and conferences to facilitate knowledge exchange and build relationships between the policymaker, practitioner and academic communities. This approach was complemented by the creation of a network of individuals from these communities who received regular updates on SHOC and were encouraged to interact via the hub, and to establish collaborative research and other initiatives where appropriate. The network members were also publicised on the SHOC website to facilitate collaboration. Finally, SHOC members were encouraged to share the findings and challenges of their work and research on organised crime on a publicly accessible platform, the Informer, part of the SHOC website. The emerging impact of SHOC can be seen at various levels. First, SHOC activities have had an indirect impact on frontline policing. For example, SHOC workshops on modern slavery (8/9/16 and 8/11/16) led to a partnership between an academic at the University of Sussex and the police, resulting in the development of a tool to help the police identify and safeguard potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. At the SHOC workshop on Italian mafias beyond Italy (29-30/11/18), a Dutch police officer made the commitment that their force would work to implement some of the best practices described by German colleagues who had presented on the Duisberg case, while a US official said that knowledge learned, particularly about family links between Italian mafias and drug traffickers in South America, would influence their investigations on international drug trafficking (monitoring of these emerging impacts is ongoing). Second, SHOC activities have supported officials in developing policy responses to serious and organised crime (SOC). A lead analyst within the Home Office stated that a SHOC conference on European approaches to preventing organised crime (23-24/10/17) was 'hugely important' for the Home Office, 'both from a developing policy and broadening the evidence base perspective, but also for facilitating a stronger relationship with EU partners and across the UK'. The same senior analyst described how a SHOC workshop on the UK's SOC research agenda (27/4/18) was 'essential to the development of the final [official Home Office SOC research] priorities'. Similarly, an official from HMRC said that the operational case studies shared at the mafia workshop 'provided a great deal of food for thought in terms of potential policy development in the UK', and that after the workshop they had subsequently assisted international colleagues with a related 'operational query'. The above shows how SHOC activities have impacted on the public sector, yet they have also impacted on the private and voluntary sectors. The private sector is a crucial partner in the fight against organised crime, and was closely involved in numerous SHOC workshops, particularly those on virtual currencies and the future of money laundering (26/09/17) and the challenges for UK business from cybercrime (20/4/18). Moreover, the voluntary sector was provided the opportunity to engage with policymakers and practitioners at various SHOC events, especially those on modern slavery - the 2016 SHOC workshops and the 2019 conference (25/3/19). The impact of many of these collaborations takes time to develop in full, and has only begun to be seen in the timeframe, but will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Before SHOC, there was a lack of UK forums that brought together academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss organised crime on a regular basis.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The majority of respondents to a survey on the impact of SHOC (71%, n=32) stated that they were not aware of any forums that brought together academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss organised crime on a regular basis before SHOC was established. Most of those who were aware of forums (25%, n=11) claimed that they knew of forums in Northern America and the EU, such as the International Association for the Study of Organized American Society of Criminology Crime (IASOC) and a EUROPOL advisory group, but were not aware of any such forums in the UK.
 
Description Impact on the UK Home Office (Analysis and Insight) during SHOC's funding
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact In writing, SHOC has received the following feedback from the lead SOC Analyst within the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Research and Analysis team: SHOC's activities have had a number of impacts on the work at the Home Office. Three events, in particular, have been important to the Home Office. 1. Preventing Organised Crime - European Approaches and Responses in Practice and Policy (2017): This event was arranged on the Home Office's behalf as part of their activities as a member of a European network for organised crime research. This was a hugely important event for them, both from a developing policy and broadening the evidence base perspective, but also for facilitating a stronger relationship with EU partners and across the UK. The event feedback was excellent and from a personal point of view SHOC's involvement meant that the Home Office could bring together a wide and relevant range of attendees they would probably not have reached otherwise. 2. UK Serious and Organised Crime Research Agenda: Identifying Gaps (2018): SHOC ran an event in the early stages of developing the priorities to be included in the published HO SOC Research Priorities paper, published in November 2018. This event brought together a range of stakeholders from different backgrounds to provide views on early thoughts and on prioritisation. This stage was essential to development of the final priorities and enabled the Home Office to receive feedback from outside Government at an early stage. 3. Measuring the Scale of Money Laundering in the UK (2018): This event was run at very short notice late last year to discuss the very complex issue of how it might be possible to measure the scale of money laundering in the UK. This was, and continues to be, a very high priority issue within Government and the outputs of the event will be used to inform future approaches.
 
Description Operational Units: Force Area as 'expert' practitioners
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Feedback from a survey about the impact of SHOC ascertained that officers of operational units read with interest and did their best to keep appraised of the content and subject matter of SHOC workshops and events, as well as publications and research on the website. Due to this engagement with the SHOC Hub/network, many now represent their Force Area as an 'expert' practitioner into an aspect of OCG (organised crime group) methodology and have co-collaborated and co-produced knowledge with academics, anticipating downstream publications at some point.
 
Description SHOC has provided a "knowledge broker" service.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact SHOC has provided a "knowledge broker" service and served through the value of being an intermediary broker who acts as a bridge, go-between and translator between the spheres of academia, law enforcement, policy-makers and practitioners. SHOC has helped make introductions and provided a safe space where trusted relationships between different industries, peoples, and spheres can be built. SHOC has laid the foundations for the "Whole-Life Plan", allowing customers and researchers to understand one another better, improving access and promoting the exchange of ideas. This has been delivered through an impressive portfolio of workshops and by the SHOC website - a valuable repository of information in its own right. There have been no effective networks to support the work of Transnational Organised Crime Research until SHOC, which has delivered value-for-money, and a repository of knowledge currently contained in the SHOC website. Many SHOC members have noted the continued conflict in relationships between academia and law enforcement to the detriment of both fields, with much still needed to be achieved by both disciplines to make better use of knowledge, evidence and intelligence. SHOC has had an important role in developing a communicative bridge between the two fields, trying to help them better harness their knowledge, evidence, and intelligence through co-productive collaborations. Our latest workshop fruitfully explored this partnership.
 
Description Workshop 14 leading to a policy briefing
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Workshop 14 (UK Serious and Organised Crime Research Agenda: Identifying Gaps - 27/4/18) highlighted the efforts undertaken by the Home Office to reach out to the research community, which in turn have informed academic efforts. One academic covered this aspect in their September 2018 Cambridge conference on Transnational Organised Crime, which in turn led to this Policy Briefing http://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/paccs-policy-briefing-understanding-transnational-organised-crime-in-the-21st-century/.
URL http://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/paccs-policy-briefing-understanding-transnational-organised-crime-in...
 
Description Workshop 3 influenced the collaboration and development of a piece of research assisting law enforcement with online sex trafficking
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact At workshop 3 (Modern Slavery: Forced Labour - 8/9/16), two SHOC participants (one academic and one from law enforcement) met at this workshop and thereafter, jointly developed a piece of research to assist law enforcement officers in identifying potential victims of trafficking being advertised online as sex workers. This article has now been published internally, and used to develop a tool for use within the police to help officers navigate sites like Adult Work and Friday Ad, and identify potential trafficking victims (and/or networks). The tool was not something they wanted to be made public, but it is shared widely within police and with Adult Work, with the intent to help them better screen ads before they are posted online. The report now forms the basis of ongoing work in the field of identifying and safeguarding potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
 
Title SHOC (membership) Network 
Description This network is an open-access, online database of academics, researchers, policy-makers and other key practitioners who practice or are involved in the field of Serious and Organised Crime (SOC), hosted on the SHOC website. The SHOC network serves as a platform in which member practitioners can exchange, share, and communicate their research and ideas, as well as offering a starting point to link up with others in the SOC field to work alongside in high profile research projects.Those featured online are not all of the members of the network, but those who have consented to have their information online and be featured online. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Many fruitful connections have been established due to the SHOC network, resulting in further collaborative research work or broader academic/professional partnerships that would not have been possible without SHOC filling this niche gap that facilitates exchange between the broader SOC research and policy community. SHOC also communicates with members through regularly newsletters, as well as invites members to our highly popular, invitation-only workshops, annual conferences, events, and/or steering committee meetings. Members of the SHOC Network are commissioned to publish or submit their own publications regularly to SHOC's blog platform, the Informer. Such interesting and informative blog pieces on different topics within SOC has further increased knowledge and engagement to audiences both in and further beyond the network, such as those at RUSI and students. 
URL https://shoc.rusi.org/members-of-shoc
 
Description A collaboration with the University of Sussex Terrorism and Extremism Network (STERN) for Organised Crime/Terror Nexus Workshop 
Organisation University of Sussex
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SHOC helped jointly organise and provide logistics for the Organised Crime/Terror Nexus Workshop. One of the main contributions provided by SHOC was looking for experts in the field who could participate as speakers and invited partners to propose women speakers, emphasizing that our events try to give maximum gender representation.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Sussex Terrorism and Extremism Network (STERN) helped jointly organise and provide support for the Organised Crime/Terror Nexus Workshop.
Impact The organised crime/terror nexus manifests at various levels, prompting reflection on the nature of the linkages between organised crime and terror. As a result, the organised crime/terror nexus remains a subject of sustained concern for policymakers and law enforcement agencies. The workshop jointly organised by the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) at RUSI and the newly created Sussex Terrorism and Extremism Network (STERN) at the University of Sussex brought together representatives from government, law enforcement agencies and academia, through which the current knowledge on the terrorism/organised crime nexus was extended and its implications for law enforcement in Europe were discussion. This opened up new dialogues and a stepping stone for further research and collaborations within the organised crime/terror nexus.
Start Year 2018
 
Description EU-funded Research Network on Organised Crime 2017-2019 
Organisation European Union
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution SHOC team contributed to the organisation of a 2-day conference in London. This included conceptualising the event, as well as managing logistic and administrative tasks.
Collaborator Contribution The EU-funded Research Network on Organised Crime 2017-2019 participated to the conference. The UK Home Office (member of the netkork) supported with all tasks related to the organisation of the event
Impact Joint event on Preventing Organised Crime: European Approaches and Response in Practice and Policy - This included the participation of the UK Home Office, the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, the Swedish Police, the German Federal Police and Europol.
Start Year 2017
 
Description European Consortium for Political Research's Standing Group on Organised Crime (ECPR-SGOC) 
Organisation European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution SHOC team plays a leading role in the management and organisation of all activities related to the partnership. This includes establishing and organising an editorial board in collaboration with academics worldwide; defining roles and tasks for each member; creating an editorial calendar; commissioning, editing and publishing written outputs on a weekly basis; raising awareness and spreading research outcomes through social media and communication channels; creating a new online platform and managing it on a daily basis; managing routine communication within and outside the board.
Collaborator Contribution ECPR-SOC contributes by commissioning articles, editing and submitting work to be published, managing daily communication with board members and contributors, defining editorial priorities.
Impact The creation of an editorial board in collaboration with universities worldwide, including, University of Sofia, University of San paolo, University of cape Town, Flinders University, etc -The collaboration for an online editorial platform and a multinational editorial team
Start Year 2017
 
Description Mafiaround workshop in collaboration with the University of Essex 
Organisation University of Essex
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The two-day SHOC workshop 'Mafiaround: The Fight Against Italian Mafias beyond Italy', was jointly organised and held in collaboration with the University of Essex on 29 and 30 November 2018.
Collaborator Contribution The two-day SHOC workshop 'Mafiaround: The Fight Against Italian Mafias beyond Italy', was jointly organised and held in collaboration with the University of Essex on 29 and 30 November 2018.
Impact The main aim of the workshop was to bring together practitioners from different law enforcement agencies around the world who were involved in the investigation and countering of Italian mafia groups in their territories and across their borders. At the end of the workshop, there were informal one-on-ones and small group discussions on questions that emerged during the previous sessions of the workshop, reporting increased interest in better communication in sharing practices. The event offered a real insight into the issues that a number of jurisdictions are facing in combating Mafia and more generally, organised crime groups. Many attendees had little understanding of the Mafia prior to the event, so though their engagement with the workshop, they learnt the extent of the Mafia presence in places such as Canada, USA, and Australia. The American, Australian and Canadian perspectives really shaped the dominant Eurocentric view on the problem, with many attendees claiming that the workshop broadened their views on the issue.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Preventing Organised Crime - European Approaches and Responses in Practice and Policy (9th Research Conference on Organised Crime) 
Organisation German Federal Police
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This was the 9th conference of the EU-funded project 'Research Network on Organised Crime 2017-2019', hosted as the Annual Conference 2017 of RUSI's Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC). SHOC organised this event in partnership with the UK Home Office and the German Federal Police. This event brought together the Home Office, German Federal Police, Ministry of Justice in the Hague, Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, and Europol.
Collaborator Contribution It was co-organised by the German Federal Police (BKA) as part of their research network on organised crime. They provided financial support for the event, and sent a delegation of senior law enforcement representatives to present at the conference.
Impact A key theme that came out of the strategic approaches discussion was the importance of connectivity among academia, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the media. There was consensus on the need for a stronger relationship among institutions to enable the identification of key areas for further research and data collection. For vulnerabilities, discussions recognised that challenges in defining key concept may affect research outcomes. For instance it was acknowledged that the distinction between victims and perpetrators was not always straightforward, since at-risk individuals may also be victims. For operational approaches, discussions sought to identify key factors in securing operational success. Participants agreed on the need for efficiency, in terms of value for money, along with efficacy,as regards to results. Another key outcome was the publication of the annual conference report, which can be found in the publications section.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Prospero / University of Bath 
Organisation Sussex Police
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A multi-lateral partnership has been developed between the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research, Sussex Police's Prospero Knowledge Exchange, and the University of Bath. Members of the Strategic Hub team worked closely with these partners to develop topics for workshops in 2016, identify speakers, arrange the events and chair the discussions, working to develop specific research collaborations between the participants.
Collaborator Contribution Representatives from Prospero Knowledge Exchange and the University of Bath worked closely with the Strategic Hub team to develop topics for workshops in 2016, identify speakers, and chair the discussions. They were also instrumental in supporting the development of collaborations as a result of the workshops.
Impact It was through this partnership that three of the 2016 workshops were organised, and the subsequent collaborations between academic researchers and policy-makers/practitioners developed (please see 'Engagement Activities' and 'Narrative Impacts' for further details).
Start Year 2016
 
Description Prospero / University of Bath 
Organisation University of Bath
Department International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A multi-lateral partnership has been developed between the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research, Sussex Police's Prospero Knowledge Exchange, and the University of Bath. Members of the Strategic Hub team worked closely with these partners to develop topics for workshops in 2016, identify speakers, arrange the events and chair the discussions, working to develop specific research collaborations between the participants.
Collaborator Contribution Representatives from Prospero Knowledge Exchange and the University of Bath worked closely with the Strategic Hub team to develop topics for workshops in 2016, identify speakers, and chair the discussions. They were also instrumental in supporting the development of collaborations as a result of the workshops.
Impact It was through this partnership that three of the 2016 workshops were organised, and the subsequent collaborations between academic researchers and policy-makers/practitioners developed (please see 'Engagement Activities' and 'Narrative Impacts' for further details).
Start Year 2016
 
Description The role of faith communities in combating modern slavery 
Organisation Catholic Trust For England And Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are planning to hold a conference in partnership with St Mary's University's Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), mindful of external funding for the event. The concept of the conference is to explore the role of faith communities in combating modern slavery, covering the contribution faith communities already make, the gaps that exist, the possibility of improved 'best practice' coordination, and the potential for faith communities to contribute to the policy agenda.
Collaborator Contribution CBCEW will make an important contribution in terms of budget to allow us to run this event, while both St Mary's University's Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery and CBCEW will contribute through research, information, and knowledge gaps on the topic of modern slavery and faith communities.
Impact We think this is a very interesting angle to take on faith and modern slavery, on which SHOC is well placed to convene an event. The outcome should highlight existing knowledge gaps and inform practitioners on the possibility of improved 'best practice' coordination.
Start Year 2019
 
Description The role of faith communities in combating modern slavery 
Organisation St Mary's University, Twickenham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are planning to hold a conference in partnership with St Mary's University's Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), mindful of external funding for the event. The concept of the conference is to explore the role of faith communities in combating modern slavery, covering the contribution faith communities already make, the gaps that exist, the possibility of improved 'best practice' coordination, and the potential for faith communities to contribute to the policy agenda.
Collaborator Contribution CBCEW will make an important contribution in terms of budget to allow us to run this event, while both St Mary's University's Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery and CBCEW will contribute through research, information, and knowledge gaps on the topic of modern slavery and faith communities.
Impact We think this is a very interesting angle to take on faith and modern slavery, on which SHOC is well placed to convene an event. The outcome should highlight existing knowledge gaps and inform practitioners on the possibility of improved 'best practice' coordination.
Start Year 2019
 
Description UK SOC Strategy Roundtable Series 2018 - Partnership with the UK Home Office 
Organisation Home Office
Department Home Office Crime Strategy Unit
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This round-table was organised and arranged by SHOC, which successfully brought external researchers and stakeholders together at the development stage to help identify research priorities and questions so that the Home Office could identify key evidence gaps directly related to the SOC strategy and develope a prioritised research agenda for publication alongside the strategy.
Collaborator Contribution This round-table was partnered and supported through the Home Office, which successfully brought external researchers and stakeholders together at the development stage to help identify research priorities and questions so that the Home Office could identify key evidence gaps directly related to the SOC strategy and develope a prioritised research agenda for publication alongside the strategy.
Impact The UK SOC Strategy was being refreshed for publication in Spring 2018, however, the UK Home Office had not released a public research agenda for SOC since 2011. This meant that there was no current set of priorities to which external researchers could refer when considering their research, which in turn would allow anyone considering research to better focus their work to impact on the priorities most important to Government. This round-table successfully brought external researchers and stakeholders together at the development stage to help identify research priorities and questions so that the Home Office could identify key evidence gaps directly related to the SOC strategy and develop a prioritised research agenda for publication alongside the strategy.
Start Year 2018
 
Description United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Briefing on a DFID funded project: "The Crime-Conflict Nexus: Assessing the Threat and Developing Solutions." 
Organisation United Nations University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A partnership was developed between the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research and the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Members of the Strategic Hub team worked closely with these partners to develop logistics, arrange the event space, and identify speakers to present the DFID funded project results for the workshop on March 24 2017.
Collaborator Contribution The United Nations University Centre for Policy Research helped organise the workshop and the presentation of results, arranging experts to present the results of research that assessed the impact of criminal agendas on conflict dynamics, peace negotiations, and transitions from war to peace in Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Libya, Nigeria, and Myanmar.
Impact It was through this partnership that the workshop was organised, and the subsequent collaborations between academic researchers and policy-makers/practitioners developed.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Preventing Organised Crime - European Approaches and Responses in Practice and Policy (9th Research Conference on Organised Crime) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the 9th conference of the EU-funded project 'Research Network on Organised Crime 2017-2019', hosted as the Annual Conference 2017 of RUSI's Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC). SHOC organised the event in partnership with the UK Home Office and the German Federal Police. The event brought together the Home Office, German Federal Police, Ministry of Justice in the Hague, Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, and Europol. The objective of the conference was to share and explore practical and research knowledge, and to develop further cooperation among practitioners, policy-makers and academics both within and beyond the UK, in relation to the topic of Prevent.

On day one, participants discussed strategic approaches to serious and organised crime prevention; on day two they focused on vulnerabilities of individuals to entering organised crime, and operational approaches to crime prevention. During the strategic approaches section, panelists shared research and practical evidence on prevent strategies. Lessons learned and ways forward were explored through four main case studies: the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and the UK. The four sessions highlighted the need to support law enforcement with more diversified evidence. On day two, the main source of vulnerability was identified in an increasingly sophisticated and complex crime environment; different themes were touched upon, including migration, radicalisation, technological advancements, and cybercrimes. Despite diverging ideas on multiculturalism, most participants agreed that social, cultural and religious factors are key variables in prevention strategies. The operational approaches session focused on different operational approaches to preventing organised crime, with a particular focus on community-led policing, cross-government collaboration, data sharing, and on-the-ground engagement with at-risk individuals. Participants identified the lack of evidence to support the hypothesis that prevention works, which undermined the ability of the police to confidently redirect resources from pursue activity to prevent activity. Discussions here also emphasised the challenges posed by the internet, and the need to develop strategies accordingly. There were also breakout sessions, which offered a space to reflect on the role of research and the need for cooperation across sectors. Participants were divided into three groups and asked to further discuss the three main themes, strategy, vulnerabilities and operations. In particular, participants were asked to explore existing tools and challenges to measure, assess, and evaluate policies. A key theme that came out of the strategic approaches discussion was the importance of connectivity among academia, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the media. There was consensus on the need for a stronger relationship among institutions to enable the identification of key areas for further research and data collection. For vulnerabilities, discussions recognised that challenges in defining key concept may affect research outcomes. For instance it was acknowledged that the distinction between victims and perpetrators was not always straightforward, since at-risk individuals may also be victims. For operational approaches, discussions sought to identify key factors in securing operational success. Participants agreed on the need for efficiency, in terms of value for money, along with efficacy,as regards to results. Furthermore, in writing, SHOC has received the following feedback from the lead SOC Analyst within the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Research and Analysis team: This event was arranged on our behalf as part of our activities as a member of a European network for organised crime research. This was a hugely important event for us, both from a developing policy and broadening the evidence base perspective, but also for facilitating a stronger relationship with EU partners and across the UK. The event feedback was excellent and from a personal point of view SHOC's involvement meant that we could bring together a wide and relevant range of attendees we would probably not have reached otherwise.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Tackling Corruption related to Human Trafficking: A Case Study of Albania 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop brought together representatives from government, law enforcement and academia, aiming to identify where future research should focus in order to assist law enforcement in tackling human trafficking, and the organised crime groups behind it. Using Albania as a case study it explored the insights provided by existing research, and developed the following: a better understanding of the role of corruption in human trafficking to better investigate and prosecute these crimes, and an evidence-based understanding of how corruption and human trafficking are interrelated, as well as topics and questions for future collaborative research and knowledge exchange activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The role of academic - law enforcement partnerships in tackling organised crime 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop identified best practices in successful partnerships between academia and law enforcement agencies which are focused on tackling organised crime, and developed key principles for building successful future partnerships, as well as facilitated discussions that united academics and practitioners, looking to understand the modalities, rationales and impacts of these collaborations. The discussion will contribute to a briefing note that will be published by SHOC later in March 2019, which will outline key principles for building successful partnerships between academia and law enforcement. Two attendees, an academic and civil servant at the home office, following the event asked if SHOC (SOC team at RUSI) would be interested in submitting a joint-funding proposal to NATO in regards to the Balkans and organised crime, which would not have occurred without this workshop or SHOC firstly being a platform. This highlights how SHOC has acted as a knowledge broker and platform for and between different fields that has enabled (potential) further inclement and co-production of knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Brexit and the Future of UK-EU Police Cooperation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Bringing together representatives from government, law enforcement and academia, this workshop aimed to explore future scenarios for UK-EU police cooperation. BREXIT poses several challenges to UK-EU police cooperation, with the UK no longer being accountable to the EU's judicial institutions. The UK and the EU will need to rediscuss UK participation in more than 30 initiatives, including Europol, Eurojust, the Second Generation Schengen, Information System (SIS II), the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), the Prüm Decisions and the Passenger Name Records (PNR). There was general agreement among participants on the importance of maintaining close cooperation and finding ways not to jeopardise the existing framework. An important question raised and discussed was where the border crossings will lie in a post-Brexit arrangement. After the workshop, SHOC closely monitored the security implications of Brexit and provided a platform for open and free discussion on this and other issues of national and international importance. Throughout this time, SHOC endeavored to bring together a diverse range of representatives from across Europe to work together to address these complex challenges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cyber Crime: The challenges for UK business 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Bringing together representatives from government, law enforcement, the private sector and academia, this SHOC workshop aimed to identify how the cyber security community could better work together to combat cyber crime. The first session explored different elements of the cyber crime community, with speakers from the private sector and Government. The second session consisted of a series of group discussions focusing on these areas, specifically aiming to identify recommendations on how to better work together to combat this threat. Discussion Questions revolved around intelligence collection, education & awareness, and cyber risk management.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2018
 
Description Data Analytics - Fighting Tomorrow's Organised Crime 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Recent research has explored the potential practical applications of advanced data science technology and technological tools, but has also revealed a number of key barriers currently preventing law enforcement agencies from taking full advantage of these opportunities. Bringing together representatives from government, law enforcement and academia, this workshop identified where future research should focus in order to assist law enforcement in making effective use of new data analytics technology. The first session explored the potential uses of data in analyzing and responding to organised crime, improving data sharing between law enforcement agencies and the research community, and the legal and ethical constraints governing the use of law enforcement data. The second session consisted of a series of group discussions focusing on these areas, specifically aiming to identify topics for future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Digital Engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In August 2016 the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research launched a dedicated website which is intended to promote the work of the Strategic Hub, act as a focal point for members of the network, and provide a platform from which to disseminate resources on organised crime, coordinate events and publicise external funding opportunities.The website includes the following sections:

Library: this is a searchable database of works on organised crime, including academic journals, books, online commentary and policy documents. These have been produced by authors from across the UK and around the globe, and are gathered here to provide a convenient way for practitioners to identify relevant research. Each article is accompanied by full reference details and a link to the original publisher where the text may be accessed. The library remains under development, but already contains information about more than 300 items.

Researchers: academic members of the Strategic Hub network have been invited to submit profiles, which are hosted here in a searchable database, to enable practitioners and policy-makers to easily identify academic experts on specific organised crime topics.

The Informer: this is the blog of the Strategic Hub, and hosts timely commentary and analysis on issues relating to organised crime. It has also been used to promote calls for papers, and during 2017 will be used to promote external research funding opportunities.

The website is supported by a social media account which has been used to promote the Strategic Hub's work, direct people towards content on the website, and ensure regular public activity to increase our prominence.

In November 2016 the Strategic Hub team began monitoring site analytics, in order to measure the results of our digital engagement. While sufficient data has not yet been gathered for detailed analysis, in the first four months of data gathering the website has received 605 unique visitors. Approximately 49% of visitors found the website through search engines, 20% directly typed the web address into their browser, 17% were referred from links on other sites, and 14% followed links from social media.

The Strategic Hub's blog, the Informer, has received a particularly high number of views. Moreover, during the course of 2016 blog entries have acted as catalysts for government and law enforcement officials to make contact with the Strategic Hub, asking to join the network or to request further information.

The digital engagement activities of the Strategic Hub in the latter months of 2016 have therefore achieved some success in relation to their stated objectives, specifically, in promoting the work of the Strategic Hub, and providing a platform from which to disseminate resources on organised crime.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://shoc.rusi.org/
 
Description Disrupting Organised Crime: Maximising Impact 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop brought together representatives from government, law enforcement, and academia, to discuss strategies for maximising the disruption of organised crime groups. The first session examined the approach of coordinated activity by multiple agencies; Detective Superintendent Andrew Hill of the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit presented a recent case study that illustrates this strategy in practice. This was followed by a round-table discussion considering where research could support such work. The second session focused on who should be targeted within criminal networks in order to maximise disruption, including a presentation from Dr Barak Ariel of the University of Cambridge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Diversifying, Converging and Cooperating: the Changing Nature of Organised Crime Groups 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research uses workshops as a means to facilitate knowledge exchange between the academic community and policy-makers or practitioners, building relationships between these two communities. The specific objectives are as follows: first, to bring relevant academic research to the attention of those working to tackle organised crime; second, to inform academic researchers of the current knowledge gaps and consequent research requirements of policy-makers and practitioners; and third, where possible, to build research collaborations between these two communities to address that requirement. In order to achieve these objectives, each workshop focuses on a specific topic, which in 2016, included drugs trafficking, modern slavery and the growing poly-criminality of organised crime groups. A consistent format is used at each event: academic speakers are invited to provide insight into current research, while a government or law enforcement speaker outlines current knowledge gaps from a policy or enforcement perspective, and details their request for future research.

This presentation is used as the catalyst for a guided discussion about how research could be designed to respond to that requirement (what the research question(s) would be, what data would be required, in what time-frame the work could be conducted etc.) During the course of 2016, the Strategic Hub hosted four workshops. This workshop, held on the 6th December 2016, involved the topic of Diversifying, Converging and Cooperating - the Changing Nature of Organised Crime Groups. This workshop successfully achieved the objectives outlined above, facilitating knowledge exchange between the two communities and directly supporting the development of research collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Drugs: Local Trafficking and Distribution in a Transnational Context 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research uses workshops as a means to facilitate knowledge exchange between the academic community and policy-makers or practitioners, building relationships between these two communities. The specific objectives are as follows: first, to bring relevant academic research to the attention of those working to tackle organised crime; second, to inform academic researchers of the current knowledge gaps and consequent research requirements of policy-makers and practitioners; and third, where possible, to build research collaborations between these two communities to address that requirement. In order to achieve these objectives, each workshop focuses on a specific topic, which in 2016, included drugs trafficking, modern slavery and the growing poly-criminality of organised crime groups. A consistent format is used at each event: academic speakers are invited to provide insight into current research, while a government or law enforcement speaker outlines current knowledge gaps from a policy or enforcement perspective, and details their request for future research. This presentation is used as the catalyst for a guided discussion about how research could be designed to respond to that requirement (what the research question(s) would be, what data would be required, in what time-frame the work could be conducted etc.) During the course of 2016, the Strategic Hub hosted four workshops. This workshop, held on the 18th May 2016, involved the topic of Drugs: Local Trafficking and Distribution in a Transnational Context. This workshop successfully achieved the objectives outlined above, facilitating knowledge exchange between the two communities and directly supporting the development of research collaborations.

As as a result of discussions at the workshop, a working group has been established including law enforcement practitioners from a Regional Organised Crime Unit and academic researchers from three UK universities. The purpose is to facilitate data sharing and to develop specific collaborative projects in relation to drugs trafficking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description JUEST Network Launch: Towards a Comprehensive UK-EU Security Treaty 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This event launched the UK-EU Security and Criminal Justice Cooperation (JUEST) Network, which encourages multidisciplinary research and engagement to influence, the future development of strong and sustainable EU-UK security and criminal justice cooperation, irrespective of the course Brexit takes. The JUEST Network was founded and is run by researchers from Northumbria University, Aston University, and the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) at RUSI. It brought together academics, parliamentarians, and public officials with the aim of establishing what policymakers needed from the academic community, and what the academic community could offer to policymakers during the treaty drafting process. Many attendees argued that the event was a very positive start to the development of a potentially important network as JUEST will seek to map the bigger picture.

During the event and after, there were requests for further involvement in regards to influencing the course of action that JUEST should take, which included: suggested collaboration with UK-Irish Criminal Justice Research Network to focus on specific issues around Brexit and the Irish border; shaping thinking (re-treaty) in relation to harm reduction; Ireland-Northern Ireland security; and intel and operational sharing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description MAFIAROUND: The fight against Italian mafias beyond Italy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The main aim of the workshop was to bring together practitioners from different law enforcement agencies around the world who were involved in the investigation and countering of Italian mafia groups in their territories and across their borders. The goal of the workshop was to share practices and insights, with the workshop organised around a number of thematic sessions including: how to recognize and discuss Italian mafias in and outside of Italy; policing criminal activities and affiliates of Italian mafias in Italy and in other countries; financial investigations on Italian mafias; prosecution of Italian mafia groups and affiliates; and extra-judicial and extra-legal provisions against Italian mafias. At the end of the workshop, there were informal one-on-ones and small group discussions on questions that emerged during the previous sessions of the workshop, reporting increased interest in better communication in sharing practices. Understanding the tools available to law enforcement agencies and the techniques used in the operational case studies provided a great deal of food for thought in terms of potential policy development.

The event offered a real insight into the issues that a number of jurisdictions are facing in combating Mafia and more generally, organised crime groups. Many attendees had little understanding of the Mafia prior to the event, so though their engagement with the workshop, they learnt the extent of the Mafia presence in places such as Canada, USA, and Australia. In particular, attendees were really impressed in discovering how ndrangheta (a Calabrian mafia-style organised crime group) had caught economic and political power in Canada and Australia. The American, Australian and Canadian perspectives really shaped the dominant Eurocentric view on the problem, with many attendees claiming that the workshop broadened the horizon, providing some well needed context to the phenomenon. In general the widening of the European view into the worldwide development of mafia and the expertise of the involved countries was a big leap forward due to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Measuring the Scale of Money Laundering in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact There are a number of broad estimates on the scale of money laundering in the UK, some of them referring to hundreds of billions of pounds per annum. Due to the hidden nature of money laundering, it is very hard to produce a robust measurement. Yet an agreed estimate of the scale of money laundering can advance our understanding of the threat and facilitate the assessment of how effective anti-money laundering measures are.

In recognition of the need to enhance the evidence base on economic crime, HM Treasury and the Home Office are looking into ways to improve the assessment of the scale of money laundering in the UK. In order to support those efforts, the objective of this workshop is to advance understanding of and develop methodologies that HM Government can use to measure the scale of money laundering.

This workshop brought together participants across government, academia, and the private sector. In recognition of the need to enhance the evidence base on economic crime, the workshop sought to look into ways to improve the assessment of the scale of money laundering in the UK so to better inform and advise HM Treasury and the Home Office. The objective of this workshop was to advance understanding of and develop methodologies that HM Government can use to measure the scale of money laundering. In particular, the workshop addressed issues such as how should money laundering in the UK be defined for the purposes of measuring its scale, what are the potential methodologies and their advantages and disadvantages, and what are the potential data sources.
Furthermore, in writing, SHOC has received the following feedback from the lead SOC Analyst within the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Research and Analysis team: This event was run at very short notice late last year to discuss the very complex issue of how it might be possible to measure the scale of money laundering in the UK. This was, and continues to be, a very high priority issue within Government and the outputs of the event will be used to inform future approaches.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Modern slavery: Forced Labour & Modern slavery: Forced Labour (Follow-up) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact As a result of discussions at the 'Modern Slavery' workshops, a pilot project has been established between the University of Sussex and the Home Office, and research funding obtained. Furthermore, a proof of concept project has been developed by the University of Sussex and Sussex Police, and research funding obtained. Societal impact therefore emerged from these workshops through the support offered to government and law enforcement officials working to tackle organised crime. The presentations from academic speakers brought relevant research to their attention, while the collaborations developed through the 'Modern slavery' workshops enabled them to inform the focus of specific academic work and subsequently to benefit from its insights.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Organised Crime/Terror Network Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The organised crime/terror nexus manifests at various levels, prompting reflection on the nature of the linkages between organised crime and terror. As a result, the organised crime/terror nexus remains a subject of sustained concern for policymakers and law enforcement agencies. The workshop jointly organised by the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) at RUSI and the newly created Sussex Terrorism and Extremism Network (STERN) at the University of Sussex brought together representatives from government, law enforcement agencies and academia, through which the current knowledge on the terrorism/organised crime nexus was extended and its implications for law enforcement in Europe were discussion. In the first session, the panelists discussed the European experiences of identifying and disrupting the use of criminal tactics by terrorists. The second session featured break-out discussions focusing on the avenues for future research. This opened up new dialogues and a stepping stone for further research and collaborations within the organised crime/terror nexus.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Policy-maker and Practitioner Workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research uses workshops as a means to facilitate knowledge exchange between the academic community and policy-makers or practitioners, building relationships between these two communities. The specific objectives are as follows: first, to bring relevant academic research to the attention of those working to tackle organised crime; second, to inform academic researchers of the current knowledge gaps and consequent research requirements of policy-makers and practitioners; and third, where possible, to build research collaborations between these two communities to address that requirement.

In order to achieve these objectives, each workshop focuses on a specific topic, which in 2016, included drugs trafficking, modern slavery and the growing polycriminality of organised crime groups. A consistent format is used at each event: academic speakers are invited to provide insight into current research, while a government or law enforcement speaker outlines current knowledge gaps from a policy or enforcement perspective, and details their request for future research. This presentation is used as the catalyst for a guided discussion about how research could be designed to respond to that requirement (what the research question(s) would be, what data would be required, in what timeframe the work could be conducted etc.)

During the course of 2016, the Strategic Hub hosted four workshops:

Date: 18th May 2016
Topic: Drugs - Local Trafficking and Distribution in a Transnational Context
Arranged in Partnership with Sussex Police Prospero Knowledge Exchange, University of Bath

Date: 8th September 2016
Topic: Modern Slavery - Forced Labour
Arranged in Partnership with Sussex Police Prospero Knowledge Exchange, University of Bath

Date: 8th November 2016
Topic: Modern Slavery - Forced Labour (Follow-Up)
Arranged in Partnership with Sussex Police Prospero Knowledge Exchange, University of Bath

Date: 6th December 2016
Topic: Diversifying, Converging and Cooperating - the Changing Nature of Organised Crime Groups

The workshops in 2016 successfully achieved the objectives outlined above, facilitating knowledge exchange between the two communities and directly supporting the development of research collaborations: as detailed in the 'Narrative Impacts' section, one working group and two research projects were developed through these workshops, each including both academic and either policy-maker or practitioner participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SHOC Launch Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The launch conference of the Strategic Hub on Organised Crime (SHOC) had over 120 participants during the day, with a broad cross section from academia, government and practitioners. The conference began with a speed dating networking session, which was a great way of getting people to talk across the different groups brought together. Throughout the day participants commented on how great it was to talk to people they otherwise may not have, and followed up with some of the conversations over lunch and in coffee breaks.

The core part of the conference was three thematic panels - disrupting organised crime; criminal markets; and risk analysis. Each panel began with a speaker from the Home Office outlining the key knowledge gaps that affect policy-making. This was followed by two academics that explained the current state of research and how it could be better tailored to the needs of policymakers. The three panels were followed by discussion forums to discuss how to bring the policy and academic agendas together. In the afternoon, the final panel focused on methodology, looking at how we research organised crime from different perspectives. As a result of the launch conference, SHOC gained a network of over 200 academics, 65 policymakers, and 40 practitioners, which are seeking to expand with a series of workshops throughout 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Serious and Organised Crime: The Threat to the UK and Our Strategic Response 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Our collective understanding of the nature of the threat to the UK has improved since the publication of the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy in 2013, although in some cases this has pointed to an underestimated level of resilience of organised crime networks. This workshop aimed to draw on research conducted over the last four years to identify trends in the evolving threat, where government and law-enforcement agencies should focus their efforts, and best practice in approaches to tackling serious and organised crime. From the workshop, plans for future activities and ideas for upcoming Workshops were discussed, including data protection in the age of Big Data, free trade zones and Org Crime, and law Enforcement and Information sharing after Brexit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Steering Committee: 06 December 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The steering Committee (SC) firstly involved a discussion of how the network has continued to grow, now consisting of 210 academics, 63 policy-makers and 24 practitioners (as of that date: 06 December 2016). Second, the website and its blog platform, the Informer, was launched with a blog post from Lynne Owens of the NCA, intended to act as a focal point for members of the network, providing a platform from which to disseminate resources on organised crime, coordinate events, and publicise external calls for proposals and funding opportunities. A Twitter account was also created, allowing regular public activity to promote the Hub and its work. To determine whether this is effective, work begun to monitor engagement, including metrics. There was further discussion around others who could write for the blog, such as police officers who are also interested in research, and how the Hub could reach them. It was agreed that such outreach would be valuable, but should be timed to ensure it has impact - there must first be sufficient material on the website and Twitter to convince potential new members of the value of the Hub.

There was then a discussion regarding the desired number of policy representatives in the Hub network. It was agreed that the Hub will conduct a mapping exercise of the network and present this at the next SC meeting. This will enable the Chair and the SC to determine where there are gaps and then to target outreach.It was as explained that the focus of activities in 2016 was establishing the infrastructure of the Strategic hub, developing and formalising processes. Activities in 2017 will therefore build on this foundation, escalating digital engagement and working to increase both the reach of the Strategic Hub and its outputs. With the infrastructure in place, it will now be possible to schedule SC meetings on a more regular basis to help with attendance. The intention is also to continue holding workshops directly following SC meetings wherever possible, in order to maximise resources and make it easier for SC members to attend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Steering Committee: 20 July 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This Steering Committee (SC) reviewed the topics identified at the last SC meeting in December. In particular, it was agreed that SHOC would pursue the idea of allowing wider suggestions and input on topics for workshops, now looking to broaden sources of input to include the wider policy-maker and practitioner community. This involved inviting stakeholders via the website and Twitter to email ideas to the team, and by encouraging government and law enforcement members to feed in by email. Another change suggested by the Chair of the SC was that of involving others beyond academics in workshops, e.g. the private sector. She noted that invitations to the afternoon's workshop had been extended further on this basis, and that attendance was confirmed from the head of the anti-money laundering regulatory team at PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Those present at the SC were also briefed on the team's ideas for upcoming workshops, including the idea of a 'phase 2' of the afternoon's workshop on the government's serious and organised crime strategy - one focusing on more specific questions at a more advanced stage of the review process. Plans underway were discussed including, a plan to develop a workshop (as discussed with the SC over email) in collaboration with HMRC to explore the impact of declining cash usage, and expanding use of crypto-currencies and alternative wealth transfer platforms on traditional money laundering techniques. The aim is to explore with academic, policy and practitioner participants the implications of this for the current response to money laundering - predicated as this is on traditional criminal techniques such as cash smuggling and the purchase of high value goods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Steering Committee: 21 July 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The steering Committee (SC) involved a discussion of: the progress made in the months since ESRC funding. including workshops and website; next steps in regards to the 2016 Conference and workshops linking the local and global of organised crime; and lastly, building the network more beyond the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Steering Committee: 22 October 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This Steering Committee (SC) meeting focused on analytics and analytical data for SHOC since May 2018; this included on twitter, the informer, and new members (SHOC network). With the informer, one blog has been published a week, with positive feedback and lots of hard work from Felia Allum of University of Bath in attracting submissions. Over the past month, there were 20 new members on the website and 36 people had signed up to SHOC since last SC meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Steering Committee: 23 October 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In this Steering Committee (SC) meeting,it was discussed that SHOC had been working on several Hub-related activities such as the SHOC Annual Conference. There was also an overview of SHOC's last workshop on "Virtual Currencies and Money Laundering", which was well attended by policy makers, practitioners, academics and stakeholders from the private sector. Two known collaborations, one between academia and law enforcement and another between law enforcement and government, had been formed as a result of the workshop. Further information on upcoming SHOC events in 2018 were provided in the SC meeting, alongside measurable progress on the Hub expanding its digital engagement strategy. At the time of the SC, it was noted that the Hub was developing an editorial board for SHOC blog, The Informer, with the editorial board being in charge of commissioning content from within and beyond the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Steering Committee: 25 February 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Steering Committee (SC) meeting involved a dialogue of three key themes that had emerged from discussion forums: disrupting organised crime, risk analysis, and criminal markets. This was also discussion of a partnership development between Academics and LEAs.

The SC concerned how agencies might 'broaden access to government data'; the Home Office (HO) wrote a one-page draft on the subject to be circulated to the group. It was agreed the SHOC Hub should do more to promote the HO's research that has been done, although the HO feels that publishing research is generally 'painful'. It was discussed whether research could therefore be classified, and that this would come down to specifics - who would get access to data, who would read it, etc. Regarding classified research, it was expressed that for academics, publishing is less of an absolute imperative than it has been in the past, and nowadays impact and engagement with practitioners can sometimes be a significant substitute.

Finally, funding opportunities and quarterly workshops were discussed, with RUSI producing a proposal for future workshops and another conference planned. The group agreed that there are seemingly limited opportunities for private sector funding. Otherwise, the main contribution that the public sector might be able to offer could be to 'unlock' the data it possesses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Steering Committee: 26 September 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussion of launching the Strategic Hub of Organised Crime (SHOC), as well as its long term vision, priority areas of research, and the need for a world class research agenda that meets the needs of policymakers. There was limited understanding of the scale and nature of organised crime, which undermined attempts to address organised crime. SHOC sought to fill this knowledge gap, bringing together academic researchers and policymakers to create connectivity between policy concerns and rigorous inquiry. It was discussed that SHOC would aim to assess what strategies are effective at disrupting organised crime, what do criminal markets look like, and where are the vulnerabilities in the system, in addition to developing new methodologies to examine these and related issues. It was also put in place that policymakers and academic researchers would examine these priorities at a conference held at RUSI on 8 December 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Steering Committee: 26 September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This Steering Committee reviewed the topics identified at the last SC meeting in July, including ideas for future events such as 'The use of Big Data for analyzing, assessing, and preventing crime' for the next SHOC workshop. The discussion focused on the importance of data access and information sharing across different departments, as well as academic access to government data. Useful suggestions for future-related activity included running another Data Access Poll. It was also agreed that a workshop on corruption in the UK, either in local authorities, government, or within the police, would be an important topic. This was decided so that the UK could demonstrate its commitment to tackling corruption - an issue that it promotes heavily in developing countries.

An idea that had been followed through, as confirmed in this SC, was that invitations to the afternoon's workshop were extended further outside of academia; PWC's head of the anti-money laundering regulatory team and a representative from Transparency International joined the last workshop. For the afternoon workshop, members from HSBC and two consulting companies were also present. An impact arisen was the agreement that it was important to include all stakeholders in combating organised crime in SHOC workshops.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Steering Committee: 3 March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The steering Committee (SC) involved a discussion of: the ESRC funding; next steps for Strategic Hub on Organised Crime (SHOC), which included building a website, events, and workshops; and building and broadening the current network beyond the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Steering Committee: 30 April 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This Steering Committee (SC) meeting took the opportunity to note that the SHOC website and SHOC twitter account had been re-launched, as well as the fact that the team had been busy since the last meeting, working on a number of events, including workshops and roundtables. The SC meeting reported on the 'Brexit And The Future Of UK-EU Police Cooperation' event, which had seen excellent participation with very good feedback from those present. It was decided that the Hub would continue to look at the impact of Brexit as a pressing issue on the political and research agenda. In terms of plans for future workshops, it was announced that a workshop on the nexus between terrorism and organised crime would take place on 22 May.

The conversation also moved onto SHOC communication activities and the creation of partnerships and collaborations. Since January, SHOC had been working closely with the European Consortium for Political Research's Standing Group on Organised Crime (ECPR-SGOC), establishing an editorial board with representatives from the University of Bath, Oxford University, the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo, Sofia University and Flinders University. Together, they had been managing the SHOC blog, The Informer, to enhance editorial output. The Informer is now publishing one article a week and external feedback has been positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Steering Committee: 30 January 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the last Steering Committee meeting of the project, with the time commitment required for the final meeting scheduled for March 2019 to be used instead to ask Steering Committee members to complete a questionnaire on their perspectives on the impact of SHOC activities over the course of the project. An update on SHOC activities since the previous Steering Committee meeting was provided: 35 members have joined since the last meeting; the Informer blog has been published once per week; SHOC twitter has 879 followers which was an increase of 127 since the last meeting; and SHOC twitter has made 30.3k 'impressions' in the last month (for comparison, in the month leading up to the last meeting this figure was only 19.5k).

It was outlined that SHOC has two more events planned - one workshop and one conference, which received external funding for such events. It was also discussed that prior to the end of the project, to conduct a dedicated survey on the impact of SHOC activities since the Hub started operating in 2015. Attendees expressed their frustration at the lack of interest on the part of potential donors in maintaining SHOC and its achievements, noting that a significant hole would be left after SHOC ceases to operate (31 March 2019), to the disadvantage of the broader research and policy community. Those present discussed the various ways in which SHOC activities could be maintained, turning to the ways in which the impact of SHOC activities could be clearly demonstrated, as part of further efforts to attract the means to sustain the work of the Hub.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Steering Committee: 6 December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Steering Committee (SC) meeting involved a dialogue of the progress of the past year (2017) and the potential for next year (2018). This included a discussion on past events, the impact and results of the Annaual Conference, future activities, a network review (members, editorial board of the informer), broader digital engagement, as well as research activities including the SHOC Paper - Cross-Sector Cooperation Against Organised Crime: Lessons from the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The Crime-Conflict Nexus: Assessing the Threat and Developing Solutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The United Nations University Centre for Policy Research organised an invitation-only briefing on the results of a DFID funded project: "The Crime-Conflict Nexus: Assessing the Threat and Developing Solutions." The event featured top international experts on the nexus between organized crime and conflict. Experts presented the results of their research that assessed the impact of criminal agendas on conflict dynamics, peace negotiations, and transitions from war to peace in Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Libya, Nigeria, and Myanmar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The Role of Faith-Based Organisations in Tackling Modern Slavery 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This event is two take place in around one week's time. Faith-based organisations play a significant role in the response to and prevention of modern slavery in the UK and internationally. However, their contribution is often not recognized and the benefits of their experience in the field are not always shared with other relevant players or fed into policy-making decisions. This workshop event will bring together experts and representatives from faith-based organisations, law enforcement agencies as well as members of the policy-making and Parliamentary communities to discuss the role of faith-based organisations in tackling modern slavery. The aim is to highlight the current contribution made by faith-based organisations to anti-slavery efforts, identify current gaps hindering response and cooperation, and explore opportunities for practical and policy-focused interventions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The Wildlife Trafficking-Security Nexus: Targeting the Organised Crime Threat 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised criminal wildlife trafficking and its security implications are often not addressed as comprehensively as they could be. The most in-depth study to date - the 2017 RUSI paper Poaching, Wildlife Trafficking and Security in Africa - examined key aspects of the threat posed in Africa, but there is limited information for policy makers, security agencies and donors regarding response mechanisms that could be supported. RUSI's Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research, United for Wildlife, and the Wildlife Conservation Society hosted the event to examine these topics. The event focused on a key component of the wildlife trafficking-security nexus: the organised crime dynamics driving wildlife trafficking.

It brought together academics, practitioners, NGO representatives, policy-makers and politicians, including being chaired by Lord Hague of Richmond, and analysts to discuss practical measures to more effectively address the security dimensions of wildlife trafficking, with a focus on Africa. The event included a brief panel discussion followed by an opportunity for questions and further discussions. It was noted that part of the challenge of combating illegal wildlife trade is the lack of an established research base setting out the relevant organised crime dynamics, in which RUSI (SHOC) hoped to fill this research gap.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK SOC Research Agenda: Identifying Gaps 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The UK SOC Strategy was being refreshed for publication in Spring 2018, however, the UK Home Office had not released a public research agenda for SOC since 2011. This meant that there was no current set of priorities to which external researchers could refer when considering their research, which in turn would allow anyone considering research to better focus their work to impact on the priorities most important to Government. This round-table successfully brought external researchers and stakeholders together at the development stage to help identify research priorities and questions so that the Home Office could identify key evidence gaps directly related to the SOC strategy and develop a prioritised research agenda for publication alongside the strategy.

Furthermore, in writing, SHOC has received the following feedback from the lead SOC Analyst within the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Research and Analysis team: SHOC ran an event in the early stages of developing the priorities to be included in the published HO SOC Research Priorities paper, published in November 2018. This event brought together a range of stakeholders from different backgrounds to provide views on early thoughts and on prioritisation. This stage was essential to development of the final priorities and enabled us to receive feedback from outside Government at an early stage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Virtual Currencies and the Future of Money Laundering 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Bringing together representatives from government, law enforcement and academia, this workshop identified where future research should focus in order to assist law enforcement in
responding to this changing threat landscape of money-laundering, through alternative forms of payment such as crypto-currencies and Fintech platforms. The first session outlined the problem as observed from both a practitioner and academic perspective. In the second session, discussions focused on possible responses to new money laundering methods that rely on financial innovation, specifically aiming to identify topics for future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017