The criminal world of Britain controls a considerable share of its economy. More than one thousand criminal groups operate the market equivalent to gross domestic product of Bulgaria.
The Economic Cooperation Organization (OECD) in the middle of August published the report in which scarified Britain for inability to cope with corruption in the external economic transactions. According to the organization uniting the developed countries, the unwillingness of Great Britain to investigate charges to the companies which use bribes for obtaining export contracts, spoils reputation of the country and can lead to a wide circulation of this vicious practice.
However, the international corruption - only small part of the economic crimes committed in the United Kingdom. By estimates of the British police, volume of "criminal economy" the countries - about 80 billion dollars (that makes 3,8% of official British gross domestic product and it is comparable to gross domestic product of Bulgaria, Libya or Serbia).
This shadow sector is controlled by more than one thousand organized criminal groups which majority are British by origin - despite inflow in recent years criminal syndicates from Eastern Europe and East Asia. Three tens from these groups cope from the British prisons - "big bosses" serve sentence, but on - former direct affairs of the groups thanks to mobile phones and other gadgets. Despite active actions of the British police, it isn't possible to cope with illegal economic activity, first of all from - for its huge scales.
Variety of types
If to speak about criminal activity, smuggling, drug traffic, money laundering, a piracy are most widespread in Britain (in relation to a copyright) and fraud. The noticeable role is played by traffic in arms, robberies and human trafficking for sex - the industries.
Smuggling becomes possible thanks to the extended coastline and existence of 650 seaports and 3 thousand airports and airfields. Import of goods from other EU countries is controlled only partially (thanks to rules of "Common market") therefore criminals illegally deliver large volumes of tobacco and alcohol from those European countries where taxes on them are much lower.By some estimates, 62% of weighed out tobacco consumed in Britain are illicit, generally delivered of Poland and Romania.
Income from a piracy is estimated at 2,5 billion dollars a year, thus 80% of this sum are the share of organized crime. Only piracy DVD in Britain is on sale on 500 million dollars. Despite all efforts of police, in 2007 it was succeeded to confiscate only 128 million piracy products. Losses of the companies, whose production are copied by pirates, made 5,2 billion dollars. Thus 75% of illegal goods are imported from - for borders and only a quarter is made within the country.
Fraud has huge scales - to 28 billion dollars Of thefts from debit and credit cards it is the share 1,1 billion dollars, of financial pyramids - 800 million, of fictitious rounds - 2,3 billion, and of illegal network marketing - the whole 7 billion dollars.
The firearms are actively used for implementation of the armed robberies (in 2007 in their Britain nearly 2 thousand were made). One banks in a year more than one hundred is plundered. However is much more popular among criminals of attack on collector cars (more than one thousand cases in 2007). In 2006−м one of the loudest robberies there was a theft more than 100 million dollars group of seven people who could get into depositary of cash of the private company Secutiras. Still 60 million from the stolen means aren't found though five robbers were arrested and condemned for long terms.
Criminal networks don't avoid prostitution for which organization they import sex - slaves from - for a boundary. Generally it is young girls from developing countries (from Eastern Europe and Latin America to East Asia) to which promise interesting work. Only in 2007 the British police officers revealed 190 victims of sexual slavery that led more than 50 illegal brothels to closing.
Different types of crimes demand legalization of the income. Annually in Britain it is laundered about 30 billion dollars: criminals use the lawful businesses working with cash (exchange offices, hairdressing salons, auto repair shops and so on).
Behind a facade
Today the police conducts shadowing for 15 thousand persons involved in various criminal communities which purpose is obtaining illegal benefit. In only one London works more than 170 groups which are engaged in everything - from drug traffic before trade in donor organs.In some of them there are difficult hierarchies, others represent simple street gangs.
"The British criminal groups very much differ from the Italian mafia or the Turkish groups. In them there are no accurate ranks, rules and structures. They are very mobile, flexible and оппортунистичны in the activity", - John Murphy from the British Association of police constables told "Expert".
According to the British police, criminals actively cooperate with each other if joint interests are found. They form the temporary coalitions which members share the skills to get the maximum profit with a risk minimum. Recent investigation in London found alliance: the Lithuanian organized criminal group sold firearms in exchange for contacts in cocaine trade in Colombia.
Other investigation led to disclosure of the chain organizing import of women for sexual slavery in which criminal groups from Lithuania, Albania and China were involved.
It is clear that the main part of criminal groups is aimed at receiving profit. "Though more than 60 percent of the British criminal groups are involved in the drug traffic, many trade in wide range of products. After all if they find channels for drug trafficking, can use them and for smuggling", - John Murphy claims.
The majority of groups, however, specializes on only one - two kinds of activity, but there are also what turned into the branched conglomerates working at ten the directions.
Thus all groups have the criminal bosses who direct their activity. "Certainly, bosses exist, however usually it not those who is the first suspect for this role. The real bosses most often are out of a zone of supervision of police, and that to define them, a lot of time" is required, - Murphy speaks.
All criminal groups are ready to use force if it is required for robberies, protection or providing transactions on drug traffic. It creates the large black market of firearms. Some groups, in particular from Lithuania, were created to serve demand in this market. The main part of firearms gets to Britain from countries of Eastern Europe and from the Balkans.The police will regularly confiscate in ports arms supplies from Lithuania, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania or Bulgaria - in these countries local criminals re-equip the gas and flare guns which are importing from the CIS or Asia, for use in the form of the fire.
Expansion of consciousness
One of the most important segments of illegal economy is the market of the drugs which turn makes 10 billion dollars that 33% of the market of tobacco or 41% of the market of alcohol in Britain are equivalent. Practically in all large cities drugs can be got directly on the street in spite of the fact that the possession (even for private consumption) small doses of some of them conducts to criminal liability. In broad daylight at Kemden — a Town metro station, in only ten minutes of a driving from the center of London, dealers offer passersby drugs, including relating, on police classification, to category A - heroin and cocaine.
The street price of cocaine (60-90 dollars for gram) is quite available to many British - from frequenters of night clubs to highly paid employees of the London City, some of which, by the way, consume drugs to keep working capacity during 80−часовой working week.
By estimates of the British Ministry of Internal Affairs, to Britain about 300 groups are engaged in import of drugs. Within the country 3 thousand wholesale dealers and 70 thousand street dealers are involved in distribution. Thanks to high solvency of the population Britain became one of the key markets of drugs. Here one of the highest consumption levels of cocaine in the world - 2,8% of adult population, it is more, than in the USA (2,4%) or in other European countries (1-2%).
Heroin and other opiates in Britain use 350 thousand people - 0,7% of adult population. Even more popularly marihuana - it at least periodically uses 9% of adult British and 21% of youth at the age of 16-24 years. It is curious that since 2004 when marihuana reclassified in category C, having commuted a penalty, its consumption decreased - from 10,5% for adult population and 27% among youth.
Cocaine (both in the form of a crack, and in the form of powder) and heroin - two main types of drugs in the country. Already mentioned high solvency of the British population conducts to that on the way from farmers of Colombia and Afghanistan drugs rise in price in thousands times.
So, producers of cocaine in the South American countries sell it on 600 dollars for kilogram.The South African dealers deliver it to dealers in Nigeria and on the Caribbean islands already 4 thousand dollars for kilogram. The price of the cocaine imported into Britain reaches 60 thousand dollars for kilogram, and in terms of retail price on streets - 100 thousand dollars.
Approximately as business and with heroin is. In Afghanistan the kilogram of drug costs 850 dollars, the Turkish dealers have 15 thousand, after import to Britain - 40 thousand dollars, and street retail price reaches 140 thousand dollars. Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs get to Britain from Holland and Eastern Europe (where their components are delivered from China and Russia).
"It is very difficult to fight against drug traffic, this is a many-headed hydra. And if the police liquidates one of distribution channels, at once there are new. To stop process very difficult from - for a great demand on drugs. Therefore it is simpler to police officer to place emphasis on fight against import, instead of against thousands of street dealers", - Mike Hau, the research associate of King's College London university and the member of the British Commission on policy in the sphere of drugs told "Expert". About ten percent of drugs getting to the country are withdrawn by police. These are 2,3 tons of heroin (3% of world confiscations), 4,5 tons of cocaine (1,5%) and 64,9 tons of marihuana (5%).
But it it appears insufficiently, and the drugs which have got to the country, join in a vicious circle of crimes, after all at many consumers dependence develops. And then they are compelled to look for new sources of the income, often resorting to robberies or committing other crimes.
Geography of the British organized criminal groups
The most various on structure are the London groups - some are created by locals (the such appeared once in being proletarian Ist - энде), some consist mainly of migrants - Colombians, Chinese, Turks, Poles, Albanians, Lithuanians or Russians.
Organized criminal groups in seaside Liverpool have long history. Local gangs are in management of several families. Thus influence of these groups leaves far beyond a neighborhood of the city. So, the Liverpool groups control smuggling and drug traffic on the southern coast of England where customs officers aren't able to control one hundred small ports.
In Manchester also there is some OGP, whose history totals some decades, the same picture in the city of the country Birmingham second for the population.Bradford in the north of England is the center of money laundering and an important link of distribution of heroin британско - the Pakistan groups (in Bradford nearly a quarter of the population is the share of Pakistanis, mainly natives of Kashmir). The Scottish Glasgow is the center of trade in firearms, and also heroin and other drugs.
Many of the foreign organized criminal groups located in other countries of Europe and even Asia and the Middle East, also act in Britain. They use 12,5 thousand kilometers of the coastline for drug trafficking, goods and people. One of the centers of criminal activity is Dover where there arrive ferries from the continent.