10 Years, 10 Threats: How Organised Crime Has Evolved over a Decade

Independent analysis of the top 10 serious and organised crime threats to the UK in 2023.

This project provides independent analysis to mark a major milestone in the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime – the 10-year anniversary of the National Crime Agency (NCA). Since its establishment by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in 2013, the Agency has sat at the heart of the law-enforcement response to a shifting, amorphous threat, mandated to lead and task activity across all law-enforcement agencies.

This milestone presents an opportune moment to reflect on the trajectory of the threat and the UK’s record in tackling it. RUSI is doing so by examining the top 10 serious and organised crime threats to the UK through a series of commentaries. The series traces the evolution of serious and organised crime threats since 2013, the ways in which the UK has responded, and what is needed to tackle each threat moving forward.

  • Organised Crime and the UK Border: Tackling Criminal Innovation at the Frontline

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  • Organised Immigration Crime in the UK: A Resilient Business Model

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  • Firearms in the UK: A Stable Threat?

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Aims and objectives

Through this project, RUSI will consider the operational response to serious and organised crime by examining the key threats to the UK in 2023. These include:

  • drugs,
  • firearms,
  • organised immigration crime,
  • modern slavery and human trafficking,
  • child sexual abuse,
  • money laundering,
  • fraud,
  • bribery and corruption,
  • cybercrime,
  • borders.


Across a 10-part commentary series, the analysis covers the evolution of each threat over the past decade, the ways in which the UK has responded, and the effectiveness of the response to date. It also considers the decade to come, how key threats will evolve by 2033, and the measures needed to strengthen the UK’s response.

The aim is to expand our knowledge of the trajectory of specific organised crime threats and the options to address them as they appear today. It is hoped that this ‘big picture’ analysis will form a useful collective baseline to assess emerging needs and gaps as we confront a complex technologically enabled criminal landscape, amid growing international volatility.

RUSI convened three workshops in October 2023 to support the analysis. Attended by over 80 participants, the aim was to gather historical experience from experts across a range of sectors.

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