Speaking at Westminster Briefing’s National Security Summit on Tuesday 21, October, deputy director-general of the NCA, Phil Gormley (pictured centre right), emphasised the need for implementing a “national” response to the “significant” threat of serious and organised crime as part of the next national security strategy.
He said: “Too often national security is seen as protecting the state from other nations or from non-nation actors intent on inflicting physical harm on a country, its infrastructure and its people.”
Discussing the criteria that defines national security threats, Gormley said: “It is immediately apparent that serious and organised crime does pose a threat to the UK’s national security,” adding that risks associated with these types of crime need to be “mitigated.”
There are approximately 36,000 criminals comprising over 5,000 criminal groups operating in the UK according to the NCA.
“The activities of these people, that we have mapped and assessed, cost the UK approximately £24bn every year. That’s roughly 22% of the current National Health Service budget,” said Gormley.
The government has now classified serious and organised crime as a tier two threat, something Gormley has welcomed.
Gormley called for a coherent response in responding to this national security threat moving forwards.
He said: “Now we are beginning to understand the threat better, with an aspiration to hold a single version of the truth, we must consider, prioritise, coordinate and support a response to the risk that serious and organised crime poses to the UK’s national security interests.”