Organised crime is big business. The Global Economy, European integration and the end of the Cold War have presented national crime gangs with new business opportunities that have transformed them into 'transnational' crime syndicates.
Like legitimate business, organised crime activity is motivated by profit. Criminals trade across international boundaries and defend their business interests against competitors. Unlike legitimate businesses criminal gangs are not constrained by legal considerations and remain highly flexible and resilient in the face of law enforcement or other official measures against them. Organised crime groups are becoming so powerful that they can control many of the social, economic and political processes, particularly in young and emerging democracies. The huge amounts of revenue generated by organised criminal activity poses a threat to stability and democracy in some regions.
Today's transnational crime syndicates are increasingly escaping the efforts of law enforcement agencies to contain their influence. A determined, co-ordinated response is needed to tackle organised crime. In the UK and internationally, law enforcement agencies work closely together to deliver this response.