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The Informer

The Informer blog provides a platform for academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss their work and research and to share their opinions on organised crime.

We collaborate with the European Consortium for Political Research's Standing Group on Organised Crime (ECPR-SGOC), one of the standing groups of the ECPR. The editorial board includes representatives from the University of Bath, Oxford University, the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo, Sofia University and Flinders University.

14 November, 2018

Julian Fernandez

When Colombia’s ex-president Juan Manuel Santos left office in June 2018, his country boasted of over 209,000 hectares of coca leaf - the most it has ever had. Santos’s political opponents blame him...
5 November, 2018

JUEST Network

JUEST, the UK-EU Security and Criminal Justice Cooperation Network, was launched on the 22nd of October 2018, as an important step towards encouraging multidisciplinary research and engagement to...
1 November, 2018

Yuliya Zabyelina

Extortion is conventionally understood as an attempt or act of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or organization through some form of coercion. Extortion is one of the most...
23 October, 2018

Katja Samuel

As terrorist groups become more global in their reach, creative in their methods and increasingly connected to organised criminal groups (OCGs), new and complex counter-terrorism responses are...
11 October, 2018

Valentina Butera

In January 2018, Operation Stige led to the arrest of 169 individuals across Italy and Germany on charges including participation in a mafia-type association, money laundering, extortion, unfair...
3 October, 2018

Adrian Leiva

Unlike more conventional forms of crime, the success of organised criminal groups depends largely on their ability to identify and recruit co-offenders. Due to the everchanging nature of illicit...
24 September, 2018

Guido Palazzo

On the 4th of February 1991, Mario Tamburrino was unloading barrels from his truck when a life-changing accident occurred: the truck driver was transporting 571 industrial barrels with toxic waste...
14 September, 2018

Daniel White

It is argued the world has been fundamentally changed by forces of globalisation that are driven by neoliberal, ‘Washington consensus’ free-market capitalism. This shift is so profound, it is said,...
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MS-13_tattoo_2.jpg
9 September, 2018

Fabio Armao

The spread of youth gangs has accompanied the origin and development of large industrialised cities, starting in countries like the US. In recent decades, however, the phenomenon has undergone...
29 August, 2018

María Teresa Martínez

Graphic crime scenes accompanied by figures depicting unprecedented homicides rates continue to dominate the Mexican media landscape. In Mexico, violence and its causes have dominated almost all...
22 August, 2018

  RUSI is hiring! We are looking to recruit for two positions with the Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support (CORMS) programme: a Key Expert (KE2) Project Manager and a full-time intern, both based in...
20 August, 2018

Deborah Alimi

This year’s World Drug Report is yet another piece of evidence that the international community faces a daunting task. Despite century long efforts by global law enforcement, the illicit market...
16 August, 2018

Nicholas Lord, Liz Campbell and Karin van Wingerde

In July 2018, a joint report from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group provided an overview of the range of techniques and mechanisms that criminals use to obscure their...
10 August, 2018

James Windle

There are many ways to research organised crime and illicit enterprise. One of the most useful – yet underused – is historical research. This article argues that historical research should be used...
2 August, 2018

Dwight Smith

This is the second of two Informer blogs by Dwight Smith examining how we think about organised crime. The first part was published on Monday 30 July. Initially, organised crime...
30 July, 2018

Dwight Smith

This is the first of two Informer blogs by Dwight Smith examining how we think about organised crime. The second part will be published on Thursday 2 August.  In October 1965, I was...
24 July, 2018

Andrea Varsori

  Being a criminal in Rio de Janeiro has never been a safe business, but this year it’s more dangerous than ever. On February 16 2018, Brazil’s federal government took over the administration of...
18 July, 2018

Daniela Irrera

Terrorist attacks have always historically shaped public attitudes and behaviours across Europe. The sense that terrorism is a danger to the lives of ordinary people and the perception that...
10 July, 2018

Derek Johnson, Justine Wilkinson

The year 2013 brought us the now infamous ‘Horsemeat Scandal’, providing the public with a previously unthinkable indication of the scale of crime in the UK’s food supply chain. Recognising the...
2 July, 2018

Simon Avery

“Serious organised crime” can be a confusing thing. It is a concept which lumps together such diverse issues as drugs, cybercrime, money laundering and modern slavery; it incorporates everything from...
26 June, 2018

Roberta Damiani

Robert Putnam’s Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, published in the early 1990s, is one of the most influential books in comparative politics. The book sought to investigate...
Banner image: A police raid confiscating illegal alcohol in 1925. Prohibition  saw the rise of the smuggling enterprises or “cartels” that typify contraband capitalism. Image courtesty of Wikimedia. 
21 June, 2018

Jane Schneider

The locution “criminal organisations” works better than “organised crime” for drawing attention to variation along the following lines. Different categories of organisation have distinctive revenue...
13 June, 2018

Baris Cayli

“Anyone who is deaf, blind and dumb will live a hundred years in peace.” So reads the proverb in the book penned by the Sicilian ethnographer Giuseppe Pitrè. Conjuring the fundamental principle of...
8 June, 2018

Alexandria Reid

The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) at RUSI is thrilled to announce the establishment of a new multidisciplinary research and engagement network. The UK-EU Security and Criminal...
6 June, 2018

David Pérez-Esparza and David Hemenway

In 2017, 29,168 people were murdered in Mexico, the most since records began. Excluding countries at war, there were more homicides in Mexico last year than in any country in the world, apart from...
30 May, 2018

Alexandra V Orlova

Corruption is discussed and debated in a variety of contexts, but no definitive definition of what corruption looks or feels like exists. In addition to difficulties of definition, as well as the...
23 May, 2018

Chris Bowkett

In 2009, a few scrap pieces of paper were found in a cupboard during an arrest of a camorrista – a member of the Neapolitan Camorra – in the town of Ercolano, close to Naples. This scrap paper listed...
15 May, 2018

Caitlin Hughes, Jenny Chalmers and David Bright

Fuelled by high demand, profits and the global nature of the illicit drug market(s), drug trafficking remains one of the most maligned forms of serious and organised crime. The last decade has seen...
9 May, 2018

Adam Edwards

The ‘smart city’ is invariably promoted as an unqualified good thing, particularly given pressures for more efficient, economic and effective governance in rapidly expanding cities. However, in the...
The bunker-courthouse used in the Maxi Trial, which led to the conviction of 360 mafiosi. Central to Judge Giovanni Falcone's pursuit of the mafia was the principle of 'follow the money'. Courtesy of Wikimedia
2 May, 2018

Aubrey Jones

Money is power. People will assume that this statement is so obvious it no longer needs repeating. Yet many law enforcement agencies do not seem to have got the message. Money is the crucial element...
24 April, 2018

Cristina Sáenz Pérez

In the upcoming months, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will have to rule on a case that could decide the future of the European arrest warrant (EAW) in the UK. The Irish Supreme...
9 April, 2018

On 14 March 2018, RUSI’s Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) convened a workshop to explore future scenarios of EU-UK police cooperation after Brexit. Organised in partnership with the...
5 April, 2018

Patricio Estévez-Soto

Extortion against businesses is one of the main security challenges facing the Mexican government today. Statistics from crimes reported to the police show that extortion has increased dramatically...
29 March, 2018

Michael Woodiwiss

The journey to the writing of my most recent book, Double Crossed: The Failure of Organized Crime Control, began in 1983 when I was in Washington, DC. I was able to interview an assistant counsel for...
22 March, 2018

Cindy Berman

Modern slavery is often linked to organised crime. We assume the problem is driven by criminal gangs that make huge profits from trafficking and exploiting vulnerable children, women and men into...
15 March, 2018

Camila Nunes Dias

In July 2016, Brazil’s prison population numbered more than 700,000 inmates. Of those, about one third – more than 240,000 inmates – were housed in prisons in the state of São Paulo. With 45 million...
8 March, 2018

Connie Agius

It’s an ordinary summer day in Australia, with families gathering for barbeques, kids playing in the streets and couples frolicking in the surf. It is 1967, and a man drives to a house in a suburban...
8 November, 2017

Dr Adam D M Svendsen

Late in 2013 the UK underwent a third major organisational overhaul to further re-invigorate its countering of serious and organised crime. Most far-ranging concerns boil down to the targeting of...
5 September, 2017

Joss Meakins

Nuclear terrorism is a severe and credible threat. In July, the Washington Post reported that Daesh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS) had almost ‘stumbled on the ingredients...
9 January, 2017

Our partners at the ECPR Standing Group on Organised Crime have announced that their 2nd General Conference will be held at the University of Bath from 7 to 8 July 2017: ‘Organised Crime Today –...
23 August, 2017

Sophie Henderson

As money laundering (ML) methods evolve to make use of new technologies, this workshop aimed to explore the potential impact of virtual currencies (VCs) on the future of money laundering techniques....
23 August, 2017

Sophie Henderson and Adam Edwards

As the government undertakes a review of its Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, SHOC organised a workshop to allow policymakers and practitioners to draw on research conducted by academics since...
22 August, 2017

Cathy Haenlein and Alexander Babuta

The US Congress Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the so-called ‘Helsinki Commission’ has worked in Washington since 1976 to monitor compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and...
22 August, 2017

Sophie Henderson

Transnational smuggling routes throughout Central Asia are not a new problem: the region has served for centuries as a vast transit hub for both legal and illicit trade to Europe and the Middle East...
4 July, 2017

Alexander Babuta

Bolivia has increased the national limit for legal coca cultivation from 12,000 to 22,000 hectares. But will increased cultivation fuel the illegal cocaine trade? In March, Bolivian President Evo...
9 December, 2016

Sasha Jesperson

Modern slavery is a serious and organised crime. Across many areas of criminality, organised crime groups (OCGs) are shifting away from large and risky shipments of illicit commodities like cocaine,...
28 October, 2016

Clare Ellis and Calum Jeffray

With growing evidence pointing to convergence in criminal activities, and the emergence of fluid criminal networks with transient membership, it is time to consider whether the UK’s approach to...
22 September, 2016

Diorella Islas

The conference is focused on ‘Crime and Crime Control: Structures, Developments and Actors’, aiming to bring together criminology experts in order to exchange knowledge and perspectives. Participants...
30 August, 2016

Diorella Islas

In July 2016, the UNODC and the governments of Peru, Bolivia and Colombia published three separate national reports on the cultivation of coca leaves. For the first two countries the reports show a...
2 August, 2016

Lynne Owens

I am delighted to have been invited to launch the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research website. Serious and organised crime includes child sexual exploitation and abuse, cybercrime, economic...
19 July, 2016

Sasha Jesperson

Irregular migration, a concept that encompasses a wide range of activities, including people smuggling and human trafficking, has become big business for organised crime networks. The UN estimates...
30 June, 2016

The Strategic Hub on Organised Crime Research seeks to promote research underway by academics, practitioners and policy makers on a wide range of organised crime issues. This inaugural issue of the...
20 June, 2016

Diorella Islas

The 22nd meeting of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force was held at the SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest, during 14-15 of June 2016. In the constant effort to strengthen the regional cooperation, the...
9 July, 2017

Cathy Haenlein

Organised crime, rather than terrorism, is the greatest threat to elephants and other species in East Africa. Our primary focus should be on the organised crime groups and corrupt actors known to...
19 August, 2017

Inês Sofia de Oliveira

International anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance (AML/CTF) standards are largely governed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF’s strength rests on its ability to...
15 July, 2017

Clare Ellis

The National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised crime highlights the growing significance of technology in driving criminal innovation; however, as many police forces struggle to adapt to...