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
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
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