Cops probe 800 Mafia-style gangs that are operating across Britain

Police are probing 800 Mafia-style organised crime gangs operating across Britain.

National Crime Agency chiefs said they are simultaneously running live on-going investigations into mobs committing a wealth of offences. They include a ransomware gang that has fleeced thousands of victims around the world out of `hundreds of millions of pounds'.

A dark web mob teaches followers how to commit "the worst kinds of sexual offences against children" in the UK. A European gang is importing deadly automatic weapons into Britain to arm home-grown mobsters. And a network of UK-based money-launderers is working together to "clean" millions of pounds on behalf of multiple Brit crime gangs.

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An NCA spokesman said the "huge number" of operations it is conducting "illustrates the scale of the fight" the agency – dubbed "Britain's FBI" – faces to "protect the public from significant harm."

It saves around 1,200 children from sex predators every month.

"The harm from serious and organised crime is not always visible,'' the spokesman said. "Its reach is limitless and pernicious.

"It causes more harm, to more people, more often than any other national security threat. It ruins lives every single day. It exploits the vulnerable.

"And it destroys communities across the UK, with families ruined by drugs – by addiction and the violence and crime it drives.

"Young lives cut short by overdoses and gun crime. Childhoods scarred by sexual abuse and constant re-victimisation as sickening videos and images are shared by offenders online. “People’s life-savings stolen through online fraud or cyber attacks.

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"The harm to the public from serious and organised crime is not always visible.

"Much of crime is online, taking place behind closed doors on the dark web or through encrypted apps.

"The threat continues to grow and evolve. Worryingly in some areas it is rising.''

Since its 2013 launch the agency has secured nearly 5,000 convictions resulting in jail terms totalling 21,100 years, seized 2,000 tonnes of cocaine, heroin and cannabis and taken 3,100 guns off the streets.

NCA director director general Graeme Biggar said: "We are working in an increasingly volatile world. Organised crime groups are capitalising on new online opportunities, global conflict and cost of living pressures to evade law enforcement and inflict harm.

"Organised crime looked different 10 years ago and will look different 10 years from now.

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"So to address the rapidly changing threat and stay on the front foot we are focusing on several things.

"We are targeting top-tier criminals by harnessing intel to pinpoint the most harmful crime groups and target the links in the criminal chain that are hardest to replace.

"We’re focusing more on overseas to address the threat to the UK, wherever it originates from, and taking the fight online to combat crime business models that now rely on technology.

"Every day we learn more about those who harm us, we recruit excellent officers who dedicate their lives to keeping people safe and we improve our technological and intelligence capabilities.

"We will do everything possible to protect the public.''

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