New research from the National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed that organised crime is having a more significant impact on the UK than all other national security threats combined.
The new data has revealed that around 4,600 serious and organised crime groups cost the country at least £37 billion every year, a figure up from £25 billion five years ago.
The crimes which include child abuse, trafficking, drug dealing and cyber-crime are targeting the most vulnerable and controlling communities with violence and intimidation according to the home office.
The £37bn figure is a combination of direct cost – the impact of drug use, fraud, cybercrime, blackmail and extortion on big business.
There is also a secondary cost, this is when somebody is left with a serious mental health issue because they were seriously abused as a child, or when somebody who is a drug user shoplifts or harms themselves.
NCA director general Lynne Owens said: “It means children being abused, the vulnerable being trafficked, it means cyber-crime. It means criminal markets that trade drugs, trade firearms, trade in people and make a profit as a result.
“Each year it kills more of our citizens than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.”
The figures were released ahead of the upcoming announcement of a new serious and organised crime strategy and £48m in funding to tackle the most dangerous offenders.
The money will go towards measures such as funding the National Economic Crime Centre, training police fraud investigators, as well as increasing the data and intelligence capabilities of the police and other law enforcement agencies.
Ben Wallace, the Minister for security and economic crime said: “Many serious and organised criminals think they are above the law. They are wrong.
“Our new strategic approach not only improves our government and law enforcement capabilities but also ensures the private sector, the public and international partners are integrated as part of our response.”