Experts on crime prevention met recently at the University of Leicester for the first in a series of seminars on the growing problem of international crime.
The seminars, which will take place over the next two years, will look at the responses to global crime from governments, law enforcement agencies and international bodies, and will involve academics and practitioners from Europe, the United States and further afield.
The programme is funded by the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which has awarded a grant to Adam Edwards, Lecturer in Politics and Criminology at the Scarman Centre.
Mr Edwards said: 'Transnational organised crime is an issue of great concern for politicians, the media and policy makers, yet there is little consensus over the character or extent of the supposed threat. This seminar series aims to explore the issues in detail from a variety of perspectives and to examine different policy approaches to tackling the problem.'
The seminar attracted representatives from Interpol, the Home Office, National Crime Squad, Customs and Excise and the British police service, as well as leading academics such as Dr Peter Gill (Liverpool John Moore's University), Professor Mike Levi (Cardiff University), Dr Paddy Rawlinson (University of Wales at Bangor), and Dr James Sheptycki (Durham University).
Welcoming the seminar series, Martin Gilvray, from the National Crime Squad, said: 'The meeting at the Scarman Centre provided an invaluable opportunity for us to discuss the latest ideas about organised crime from scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and representatives from key law enforcement agencies'.
Euan Grant, from HM Customs and Excise National Analytical Centre, added: 'This was a most useful meeting and I was particularly interested to learn about research into the structure and scope of criminal networks. The seminar series promises to be of considerable value for criminal intelligence analysts.'
Papers were presented on the history and development of organised crime, looking particularly at the USA, and different approaches to the problem and its causes. An expert from Interpol outlined how the organisation is seeking to combat the threat, while Dr Peter Klerks from The Hague examined the structure of criminal gangs.
The next meeting in the series is planned for December and will again be held at the University of Leicester. Participants from the United States, France, Germany and the Netherlands are expected to attend.
Professor John Benyon, Research Director at the Scarman Centre, said: 'We are delighted that so many specialists from different organisations and countries want to be involved in these seminars. Although there is much political and media debate about a growing global crime threat there seems to be a lack of agreement about the nature of the problem and what needs to be done. These meetings are providing the opportunity to examine the detailed issues from a variety of viewpoints and should assist in developing innovative approaches.'
Note for editors: For further information please contact Mr Adam Edwards or Professor John Benyon at the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, 6 Salisbury Road, Leicester, LE1 7QR.- telephone (work): 0116.252.5702; 0116.252.2458. - fax: 0116.252.3944. - telephone (home): 0116.270.5927 - Edwards; 0116.212.7505 - Benyon. - email: firstname.lastname@example.org or JohnBenyon@scarman.freeserve.co.uk - internet: http://www.le.ac.uk/scarman/.
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