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Greatest threat from Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, VietnamSecurity forces say Albania and Turkey are also causing concernThousands of foreign criminals will be deported before they are prosecutedNational Crime Agency (NCA) – dubbed Britain’s FBI – will launch tomorrow


A quarter of Britain’s organised gangs are operated by foreign criminals, it has today been revealed.

An official study of Britain’s criminal world – to be released tomorrow – is expected to say that there are more than 5,500 organised criminal gangs operating in the country – with 25 per cent run by international syndicates. 

Security sources say the greatest threat to the UK comes from Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Vietnam. Albania and Turkey are also causing concern. 

It comes as the Home Secretary announces plans to deport thousands of foreign criminals under tough new rules – many before they have been prosecuted. 

Of the 37,000 gang members ‘targeting Britain’ according to the Home Office – 7,400 are classed as ‘high harm’ foreign criminals, the Sunday Times reports. 

The Home Office said new measures to be outlined by Theresa May on Monday  aim to  identify, disrupt and eject foreign criminals operating within our shores while also stepping up protective measures to stop them reaching Britain in the first place.

She will tomorrow launch the £450mn National Crime Agency (NCA) – dubbed Britain’s FBI – as she reveals that organised crime is costing the UK £34bn a year, with cybercrime costing a further £2bn.

New measures will see immigration officers based in police stations, who will identify overseas criminals and whether they are here illegally. They will immediately run background checks for previous convictions and to see if they are wanted abroad. 

If there is enough evidence, they will be prosecuted here then deported. But if there is insufficient evidence to prosecute them in Britain, and they are found to be here illegally, or to already have a conviction abroad, they will be deported. 

Anyone deported will be banned from the country for a decade. 

A pilot scheme in London – codenamed operation Nexus – has seen 1,000 foreign criminals were kicked out in just 18 months.

As the scheme expands across the country, officers will join forces with European police to tackle cross-continental gang syndicates. 


The Sunday Times reports that many of the organised crime groups commit economic crime, with foreign gangsters – operating from Spain and the Canary Islands –  targeting the pensions of hard working people with ‘pension liberation funds’. They typically use false websites and advertising to coax people to cash in their pensions by transferring them to a fake early access scheme.  

A Home Office spokesman said:  ‘Operation Nexus, the joint Border Force-Met Police information sharing programme, has seen more than 1,000 foreign criminals kicked out of the country in the 18 months it has been in operation.

‘It tackles individuals who may not have been convicted but where intelligence exists that shows a pattern of arrests or association with serious criminality. It has already been exported to West Midlands Police and will now be expanded to the rest of the country as part of the Organised Crime Strategy.

‘The strategy will also expand the traditional anti-gang targets of gun and gun crime to include the emerging threats of human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and cyber crime.

‘And it will seek to strengthen UK law enforcement work overseas, which last year saw the seizure of over 60 tonnes of cocaine and nearly 5 tonnes of heroin and the arrest of 1,500 people.’

Planning for the NCA, which will be accountable to Home Secretary Theresa May, has been under way for the past three years. The new body will take on the roles of the old Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), parts of the Border Agency, National Police Improvement Agency, and the police’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

It represents the culmination of an effort that began in the 1970s, with the first attempts to make the UK’s 45 police forces work more closely together – and then to the creation of  forerunners such as SOCA and the now defunct National Criminal Intelligence Service.

Supporters are determined to avoid the pitfalls which beset earlier efforts. SOCA, which was chaired for three years by former MI5 boss Sir Stephen Lander, was widely criticised for pursuing too few cases.

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