Organised Crime and Policing

We are dedicated to understanding and addressing current and future organised crime and policing challenges, both in the UK and worldwide.

The Organised Crime and Policing group provides research, analysis, consultancy and evaluation services for governments, law enforcement agencies, international institutions and the private sector. We focus on facilitating dialogue between stakeholder communities, synthesising existing research evidence to inform high-level decision-making, and bridging gaps between siloed responses, so as to inform a more holistic, effective and forward-looking response.

Across the UK and globally, the damaging impact of organised crime is felt by individuals, communities, and the public and private sectors. Yet the national and global response has failed to keep pace with an evolving and technologically enabled threat. The rapidly changing environment has placed the public and private sector under unprecedented pressure to both comprehensively understand these complex issues and to respond in real time to the threat to national security. 

In parallel, the group’s policing and security research explores the challenges facing law enforcement agencies and the role of the police in the UK’s national security infrastructure. We conduct timely evidence-based research to advise law enforcement agencies on how best to take advantage of new opportunities, such as those presented by emerging technologies; how to bridge the gap between policy and practice; and how to overcome barriers to transformational change.

Policing in an Era of Climate Change: The Challenge of ‘Eco-Dissent'


Access a range of project work undertaken by the Organised Crime and Policing research group

Climate Change

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Programme: The Future of Environmental Crime in a Warming World

The programme investigates the evolving impact of global warming on the criminogenic dynamics behind large-scale environmental crime.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Climate Change

A trailblazing project examining the impact of climate change on criminal drivers behind large-scale illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

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Independent Assessment of Illegal Wildlife Trade in the UK

Commissioned by the Home Office, RUSI is leading an independent assessment of the UK’s performance on tackling financial crime related to illegal wildlife trade (IWT).

Combatting International and Trans-border Wildlife Trafficking in Peru and Ecuador

Strengthening enforcement capacities and improving synergies to combat international and trans-border wildlife trafficking in and between Peru and Ecuador.

Combatting Wildlife Crime in Uganda

This project aims to strengthen key Ugandan stakeholders’ capacity to detect, deter and prosecute wildlife crime, working with security and law-enforcement agencies in the country.

Combatting the Illegal Wildlife Trade in West and Central Africa

This project conducted the first regional knowledge and capacity assessment on illicit financial flows connected to the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in West and Central Africa.

Following the Money: Disrupting Wildlife-Linked Illicit Financial Flows in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

This project piloted a strategic threat- and needs-assessment around the financial dimensions of wildlife trafficking, to inform tailored, multi-agency and cross-sectoral capacity building in East Africa.

Following the Money II: Capacity-Building to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade in East and Southern Africa

This project delivered tailored cross-sector capacity-building information on disrupting wildlife-linked illicit financial flows in East and Southern Africa, accompanied by rapid-reference guides and an e-learning resource.

Illegal Wildlife Trade Financial Taskforce

RUSI contributed to the establishment of the United for Wildlife IWT Financial Taskforce, which – through high-level commitments and actionable intelligence sharing – has mobilised over 40 global banks against wildlife trafficking.

Reviewing closed wildlife trafficking cases in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

This project generated new financial intelligence and investigative opportunities by reviewing two closed ivory trafficking cases in Lao PDR.

Corruption as an Enabler of Wildlife Trafficking

Primary research in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia calls for anti-corruption efforts to be placed front-and-centre of our collective response to wildlife trafficking.

Turning the Tide: Learning from Responses to Large-Scale Illegal Fishing

This project conducted a cross-regional analysis to establish the factors behind the collective failure to provide an adequate global response to large-scale illegal fishing.

Below the Surface: How Illegal Fishing Threatens Our Security

The first project of its kind to examine in detail the intersection between illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and transnational organised crime and security.

Illicit Trade and Trafficking

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Criminal Risks in Free Trade Zones

This project examines criminal risks in free-trade zones, also known as freeports, and highlights best practice in tackling those risks.

Impacts of Covid-19 on Human Trafficking in Sudan

The project explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on modern slavery and human trafficking in Sudan.

On Tap Europe: Organised Crime and the Illicit Trade in Tobacco, Alcohol and Pharmaceuticals

The On Tap paper series presented ground-breaking research on the role of organised crime groups in illicit trade in tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals across Europe.

On Tap UK: Organised Crime and the Illicit Trade in Tobacco, Alcohol and Pharmaceuticals

On Tap is the result of the first in-depth investigation of its kind into the intersection of organised crime and illicit trade in the UK.

Cybercrime and Audio-Visual Piracy

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Tackling Cyber Fraud

This project sought to examine and present a new model for tackling cyber fraud in the UK.

Piracy and Organised Crime

This project is the first of its kind to explore options for the financial disruption of organised crime networks involved in audio-visual piracy.

Data and Surveillance

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Observatory for Monitoring Data-Driven Approaches to COVID-19

OMDDAC provides a public space for the consolidation of knowledge and understanding of data-driven approaches to COVID-19, focusing on legal, ethical, policy and operational challenges.

Big Data and Policing

RUSI conducted research into the potential use of big data analytics by UK policing, providing insights into current limitations and priorities for expanding these capabilities.

Data Analytics and Algorithms in Policing

RUSI partnered with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to conduct research into the use of data analytics by police in England and Wales.

Independent Surveillance Review

RUSI was commissioned by the UK government to lead the Independent Surveillance Review, which informed the government’s thinking on the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Machine Learning Algorithms and Police Decision-Making

RUSI partnered with the University of Winchester in September 2018 to conduct research into the application of machine learning algorithms to police decision-making.

UK Government’s Future UK AI Strategy

RUSI partnered with Wilton Park to convene a series of dialogues on the UK government’s future AI strategy.

Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research

SHOC is a world-class research network that brings together academics, practitioners, policymakers and the private sector to facilitate policy-relevant research and dialogue on organised crime.

Related programme

Latest publications

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