SOCTA 2017

OCGs are as varied as the markets they service and the activities they engage in. In many cases, OCGs reflect the societies, cultures and value systems they originate from. As societies across Europe become more interconnected and international in outlook, organised crime is now also more connected and internationally active than ever before.

Since the year 2000, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime has provided an internationally shared definition of an organised criminal group as “a group of three or more persons existing over a period of time acting in concert with the aim of committing crimes for financial or material benefit.” This definition was also adopted in the EU’s Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA of 24 October 2008 on the fight against organised crime and continues to reflect law enforcement authorities’ conceptualisation of organised crime across the world. However, this definition does not adequately describe the complex and flexible nature of modern organised crime networks.

OCGs operate in a criminal economy dictated by the laws of supply and demand and are favoured by social tolerance for certain types of crime such as the trade in counterfeit goods and specific frauds against public authorities or large companies. These factors will continue to shape the organised crime landscape. Individual criminals and criminal groups are flexible and quickly adapt to exploit new victims, to evade countermeasures or identify new criminal opportunities.


Defining serious and organised crime - What