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Compliance Study: United Kingdom

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Transnational Organized Crime - Score: +1

"We commit ourselves to resist the enormous threat posed by narcotics traffickers, by implementing the UN conventions against drugs, and intensifying efforts to put traffickers behind bars and prevent them from laundering their money."

The newly elected government of Tony Blair has taken steps to make good on a campaign promise setting up a committee to appoint a "drug tsar" who will co-ordinate the fight against illegal drugs.

On April 28, 1997, European Union and home affairs ministers agreed to step up co-operation in the fight against organized crime in Europe. The recommendations include: a commitment to examine areas where harmonization of judicial and criminal laws would have a practical effect on Euro-crime; reinforcing Europol; calls for member countries to coordinate their police forces effectively; the establishment of a judicial co-operation network to be set up at the European level, permitting the exchange of information between national authorities; and closer co-operation with third countries, especially those looking to join the EU.

An agreement was made by officials of Great Britain and Russia on January 29, 1997 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding organized crime. This was to be followed up by more detailed agreements defining practical action to tackle drug trafficking, organized crime and international terrorism.

On January 1, 1997, the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 (Designated Countries and Territories) Order 1996 came into force. It enables courts in England and Wales to freeze and confiscate the proceeds of drug trafficking on behalf of 144 other countries and territories. The Act is intended to drastically diminish the number of countries in which criminals can hide their ill-gotten gains.

Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) (established in April, 1992) was given statutory footing in November, 1996 granting the service greater ability to tackle serious and organized crime by establishing provisions that will allow the service to undertake a wider range of intelligence activities. The service itself plays an important part in tackling serious crime in Britain, and is used to assist police forces in other countries. It gathers intelligence on offenders including drug traffickers, money launderers and organized criminal groups.

Drug trafficking poses a serious threat to the economic and social stability of the Caribbean region. It leads to addiction, corruption, and high levels of crime, In an initiative, first put forth in 1995 jointly by John Major and Jacques Chirac, the European Union has recently devised ways of strengthening its contribution to the fight to control drugs in the Caribbean, and is working with other donor countries and organizations to implement its proposals. the government of the United Kingdom was an integral participant in the endeavour, which reported in September, 1996. The EU Drugs Expert Study Team examined areas extending from police and customs interdiction, to prosecution and combating money laundering, to reducing demand for drugs and rehabilitation of addicts. The team was tasked to identify gaps and weaknesses in existing regional efforts to combat drugs, and make specific practical proposals on how to fill these and overcome the weaknesses. The proposals included:

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