In This Chapter

Organized Crime

Authored by: Adam Edwards

Routledge Handbook of Security Studies

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138803930
eBook ISBN: 9781315753393
Adobe ISBN: 9781317620921


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‘Organized crime’ is now a major focus for public policy, as exemplified in the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Edwards and Gill 2003; UNODC 2004) and, in Europe, its prominence on the EU’s agenda for creating an ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’. In turn, this agenda has generated a whole new genre of policy-oriented learning, the ‘threat assessment’ of organized crime, which endeavours to provide policy-makers with an understanding of current organized crime patterns, in particular concerns about ‘transnational’ crimes resulting from the greater mobility of people and goods across borders, and to inform the targeting and coordination of efforts at prevention (EU OCTA 2006 and passim; EU SOCTA 2013; EU iOCTA 2014). As such, threat assessments of organized crime exemplify the more profound logic of security, to anticipate and prevent especially serious threats to public safety, as contrasted with the retrospective logic of criminal justice which seeks guilt for predicate offences after the fact of their commission. This policy shift from criminal justice to security, from prosecution on the facts to the prevention of threats yet to be realized, is controversial both for its challenge to principles of due process and because of concerns over the unintended consequences of pre-emptive interventions.

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