Transnational Organised Crime

Background to the Theme:

Transnational organised crime presents a significant and ongoing threat to populations and economies. Organised crime groups are responsible for the illegal movement of people, goods and money across international borders, including people, arms and drugs trafficking, money laundering and counterfeit identities and goods.

Criminal groups are now extending into new areas of activity, including cyber crime, environmental crime and involvement with terrorist networks.

Further research is needed to increase our understanding of the evolving nature of transnational organised crime, why and how it extends across borders, what impact it has on populations and effective ways of preventing and mitigating its impact.

The Transnational Organised Crime theme is led by the Economic and Social Research Council on behalf of the Partnership.

Maximising Impact from Serious Organised Crime Research TNOC: 

In the autumn of 2021, the Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS) was delighted to welcome researchers, policymakers, industry professionals, and members of the third sector to our virtual conference on Serious Organised Crime. The conference, which focused on the theme of Maximising Impact from Serious Organised Crime Research, was designed with the goal of creating a space in which academics, policymakers, and practitioners could explore what new insights from research can offer to help us understand and undermine serious organised crime. Throughout the event, participants explored themes related to the topics of Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking; Economic & Financial Crime; Blue & Green Crimes (Maritime & Environmental); Gangs & Syndicates (Arms, Drugs & Extortion); Victims & Harms (including Child Sexual Exploitation); Cyber-Crime & Online Criminal Markets; and Criminal Conflict & Political Violence. Learn more and listen to content from this event here.

TNOC: Deepening and broadening our understanding 2018

The Transnational Organised Crime: Deepening and broadening our understanding 2018 Call was launched in April 2018 in order to support research proposals aimed at deepening and broadening our understanding of the complex issues related to Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) and its inter-relation with other licit and illicit activities. As part of the ESRC contribution to the Partnership, the ESRC announced a total of £1.7m of funding for five projects which will run up for 36 months and which began in January 2019. The five projects funded under this call have now been announced, and the full list of grants can be viewed here.

These projects are exploring the complex and ever-evolving socio-political and socio-technical environments within which TNOC operates. They cover diverse issues such as the links between cybercrime and TNOC, the regional response to transnational maritime crime, using data to support the response to transnational human trafficking, an ethnography of the spatial, socio-political and historical dimensions of TNOC in Lebanon and a study of illicit flows and TNOC in West Africa.

To support the funding call, the Partnership established a database to facilitate networking opportunities between academic researchers across disciplines and non-academic stakeholders, which can be found here.

You can also learn more about these projects by listening to our 2020 video interviews with project researchers, available here.

Past Work:

In early 2016, the Partnership issued a funding call for cross-disciplinary and innovative research projects, the TNOC Theme Innovation Awards, that would extend our understanding of how transnational organised crime had evolved through time and in different cultural contexts, why and how it extends across borders, what impact it has on populations and sustainable international development, and effective ways of preventing and mitigating its impact. The call funded research and networking activities which addressed transnational organised crime from a range of cross-disciplinary approaches and research perspectives. Click here to see the full list of awards.

In 2013, the PaCCS Champion also secured agreement from the newly-formed National Crime Agency to place a security-cleared doctoral student inside the organisation to undertake a brief (three-month) investigation into its requirements for Social and Behavioural Research. There are limits to what could be achieved in that period, but we believe the report contains valuable insights that could support future research endeavours. The report is available here: Social & Behavioural Sciences – Requirements of the National Crime Agency (Dr Anna Sergi)

Related Programmes and Activities

RUSI Strategic Hub on Organised Crime: Bringing together academics, policy makers and practitioners to develop a world-class, targeted research agenda that supports efforts to tackle organised crime.