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Public lecture: New Trends and Developments in Fighting Organized Crime



Public Lecture
February 21, 2003
British Embassy to Bulgaria

On February 21, 2003 the British Embassy to Bulgaria and the Center for the Study of Democracy co-organized a lecture on the "New Trends and Developments in Fighting Organized Crime" delivered by Bob Ainsworth, MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office. The event was hosted by the UK Ambassador to Bulgaria Ian Soutar. More than 70 law enforcement experts, representatives of the judiciary, the diplomatic corps, the NGO community and the media were present at the lecture.

In his speech Mr. Ainsworth pointed out that the most serious threats which should be regarded as priorities of the UK government were Class A drugs trafficking (essentially heroin and cocaine), people smuggling and trafficking, fraud, money laundering, possession and use of firearms, high-tech crime and pedophile crime. In the case of tackling drugs trafficking a multi-agency enforcement group was established which comprised senior representatives of the Police, Customs, National Criminal Intelligence Service and the security and intelligence agencies. A similar mechanism for tackling the organized immigration crime was created - the Reflex taskforce is focused on the criminal networks which smuggle and traffic people.

Mr. Ainsworth emphasized the importance of the legislation in support of the operational activities. He dwelled on the Proceeds of Crime Act as a major step forward in the UK government's fight against crime. The Act, passed by the UK Parliament in July 2002, introduces powers to the police and Customs to seize large sums of cash derived from or intended for use in crime, and to secure its forfeiture in magistrates' courts proceedings.

Collaborative working is vital when tackling transnational organized crime because criminals do not recognize borders. Therefore a strong intelligence between all countries is needed to disrupting the traffickers, Mr. Ainsworth added.

In Bulgaria the UK has been very active in recent years in providing support and assistance to the authorities responsible for tackling drug trafficking, organized crime and human trafficking, Mr. Ainsworth concluded. He also expressed hope that future co-operation in this field would continue.

In the discussion that followed Mr. Ainsworth explained that public confidence in the law enforcement institutions was vital to ensure proper implementation of the legislation. He also pointed the cooperation with the banking sector as a good example of cooperation with non-government structures in designing strategies to combat organized crime.

See the full speech of Bob Ainsworth


Biographical Data

Bob Ainsworth is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, where he has responsibility for anti-drugs co-ordination and organised crime.

Mr Ainsworth has been Member of Parliament for Coventry North East since 1992. He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions from January to May 2001. He sat on the Environment Select Committee from 1993-95, the Trade and Industry Committee from 1993-97, and was Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Environment Committee from 1995-97. He was Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council from 1988-91.

Mr. Ainsworth, 48, was educated at Foxford Comprehensive School, Coventry, and worked at Jaguar Motors from 1971-91.

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