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					A NOTE BY THE DIRECTOR                                                                               DITCHLEY 08/1

                              25-27 January 2008

Ditchley‘s first conference of the New Year, held on a mild, almost spring-like, weekend, tackled the threatening
but intangible subject of international organised crime. Participants seemed both resigned and enthusiastic:
pessimistic about the chances of winning the struggle against organised crime, but keen to look for new ways
forward and new methods of cooperation. It was a surprise to discover how few of the company had brainstormed
with people beyond their own profession.

We started with an attempt to analyse the threat, sensibly putting aside the temptation to agree on a definition of
organised crime. What governments and law enforcement agencies had to confront was an organic, rather than a
systemic, collection of groups, almost all of them with specific and independent characteristics, who were
increasingly taking advantage of geopolitical and global economic trends to find new ways of making money
illegally. Very often a group had local origins in one country and distinct lines of operation to or through specific
localities in other countries. One spot of good news, probably, was that the violence generated by organised
gangs in recent decades had probably declined in recent years, at least in some jurisdictions. Organised crime was
now more focussed on markets – for drugs, trafficking, fraud, extortion or other damaging activities. The
phenomenon was international, if not global, but operations were often highly localised. Borders were largely

The conference thought hard about who, what and why. Certain nationalities appeared to have developed
particular criminal techniques, but new groups were forming all the time in different places. Cell structures were
small and, even so, the individual members might know little about each other. Communication was often
through the internet. It was difficult to discern regular or identifiable patterns of who might be involved. As for
the substance of criminal activity, drugs remained the biggest cause of harm to society. Chains of activity were
complex, with high profits being earned all down the line. Countries of weak governance or instability through
conflict were often involved. Corruption was prevalent through the use of easy money and occasionally through
threats of violence. Fraud was also a growing concern as economic globalisation enlarged the opportunities.
Identity and document theft or counterfeiting often accompanied it. As for why, perhaps there there was the least
change. Financial gain was the principal motivator. With business innovation so dynamic in the legitimate world,
the threat of organised crime was also becoming more dynamic and less formulaic, quick to exploit any new
opportunity and drawing on a number of aspects of geopolitical change.

The conference quickly agreed that not nearly enough research had been done, or data collected, on what was
actually happening. It was hard to penetrate the true originators of organised crime or to discover where they
were hiding themselves, their methods or their proceeds. It was undoubtedly necessary for a much broader and
deeper range of professional research to be generated if governments were truly to understand the problem they
were facing.

We also examined the links with other forms of international crime and particularly terrorism. Most participants
felt that this linkage could be overdone. There was little evidence of systematic cooperation between terrorist
cells and international organised crime, not least because their motives were quite distinct. Nevertheless they
sometimes shared methods and channels and could cooperate on a temporary or coincidental basis. This needed
watching; but it was unlikely that revelations or successes in confronting one category would lead to openings
into the other.

The conference paid close attention to the financial area in particular, not merely as a growing area for criminal
activity, but also because money was a common link throughout the whole field of organised crime. Banks and
other financial institutions were beginning to focus quite carefully on criminal activity, but themselves had
weaknesses which could be exploited. The data on suspect activities was now beginning to grow, to an extent

which meant that only a small proportion of leads could be followed up. We were warned that governments
needed to be very careful about the measures they thought worth introducing to close down the opportunities for
crime: they were often ill-thought out and counterproductive. But finding really effective defensive measures
was also a very complex area.

Participants had an interesting exchange on public perceptions of organised crime. We were in no doubt as a
conference that international criminal operations did a tremendous amount of harm to society, with a large
number of individual victims, above all from the drugs trade. Yet in society as a whole most individuals felt that
they were not directly affected. The economic effects of transnational crime seldom hit people directly in the
wallet. In this respect, the phenomenon could be compared with climate change: everyone was aware that
general damage was possible, even probable in the long term, but there did not seem to be a reason for changing
individual behaviour this week or this year. Largely for this reason, politicians and other policy-makers did not
feel that they needed to give the defence against organised crime as high a priority as other aspects of policy
which were more compelling in the short term. In particular, participants felt strongly that the focus on counter-
terrorism since September 2001 had pushed the defence against organised crime down the order of priorities,
because of the dramatic headline effect of terrorism. Yet when solid calculations were made, terrorism could be
assessed as doing less cumulative damage to the modern way of life. The failure of governments to come up with
really effective counter-narcotics policies was in itself an immense stain on the record of public sector policy-

We discussed international cooperation. No-one was in any doubt that international cooperation was necessary
and needed to be improved. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, the Palermo
Convention, had established a creditable framework for such cooperation. But the work which flowed from
Palermo and other relevant protocols and agreements was not fully addressing the threat posed. For a start, the
international community seemed to lack a strong sense of urgency in this area. International cooperation
remained fragmented. And there was a dearth of action-oriented research which could be applied to operations in
the field. Even with the instruments and the information which governments already had to hand, national
jurisdictions and agencies were surprisingly reluctant to cooperate in depth with, and trust, each other.
Participants felt no need for new international norms: it was much more important to implement the ones we had
with much more effective, willing and open cooperation in practice. The EU was beginning to develop helpful
practices in this respect, but could take cooperation further. Where this should be concentrated would benefit
from further research, as noted above, focussing in particular on the areas where organised crime did the most
harm and on the points where criminal groups might be most vulnerable. Given the advantages which organised
crime appeared to have over law-abiding societies in the present era, some participants felt that detailed work on
the impact and the methodologies of organised crime should be given greater priority than prosecuting cases
within the criminal justice system (if there had to be a choice between the two because of limited resources).

The conference was determined not just to analyse but to produce ideas for an effective response. Participants
were certainly not unanimous on all aspects of the analysis, nor on precisely what needed to be done in
confronting it. We recognised, with a very wide range of international experience around the table, that different
regions and jurisdictions faced different aspects of organised crime in different ways. But there was solid support
around the table for the following propositions to governments, practitioners and the academic community:

Understanding the challenge

       Neither the international community nor the countries represented at this conference had developed a
        sense of urgency about the problem needed for a response which would turn the tables on international
        crime. It was time to become ―lawfully audacious‖;

       Politicians therefore needed to be engaged much more intensely, including in explaining the problem to
        public opinion;

       Yet the public was, on the available evidence, not yet sufficiently alarmed by the damage accumulating
        from organised crime to pay a higher price for measures against it, unless they understood the strategic

       reasons for doing so. The message might be most effectively conveyed not just by politicians, but
       through education, debate, the media and the use of role-models and celebrities;

      Given the uneven effects of organised crime, the local communities most affected by it should be more
       closely consulted on measures to confront it. With public trust in government, the police and other central
       authorities generally too low for a direct approach to be productive, indirect techniques should be evolved
       and tested.

International Cooperation

      No national jurisdiction, however powerful the state, could cope with the problem on its own. Given this
       significant mutual interdependence, it was deeply disappointing to see how fragmented the defence was
       against organised crime;

      Urgent work should be done to intensify and deepen research on the impact, channels, varieties and
       methodologies of international organised crime, with greater coordination between law-enforcement
       agencies and academic and other institutions capable of conducting research;

      International judicial cooperation, including in extradition, should be taken forward more deliberately,
       with a greater willingness on the part of governments to reduce national restrictions on the transfer of
       information or people.


      Research was urgently needed on the big picture and on underlying causes, going beyond the narrow
       focus of a rules-based approach, by both academic institutions and practitioners, as was cooperation
       between these different areas of expertise in analysing the data available on trends and patterns;

      Prisons ought to be a further area for investigative activity, since relationships formed and
       communications systems developed within prison populations were often the source for new ideas and
       networks in criminal activity and, for some, prison was a safe place from which to run their criminal

      In the financial field, research on channels of fraud, including via the internet, ought to be commissioned
       and followed up – academics and also the business community could be usefully involved;

      Research could also be done not just on the nature of criminal groups, but also on linkages in market
       activity which provided opportunities for fraud or other attacks (some research had been done on this in

   Practical Action

      The funding for new techniques, particularly for greater research, should be stepped up (but we noted that,
       for instance within the EU, several sources of funding were available which had not been fully taken up);

      Particular attention should be paid to discovering the points of vulnerability of criminal groups, especially
       in the financial field. Squeezing the opportunity to make, hide and later use liquid profits should be a
       priority area;

      In addition, much more work needed to be done to pursue the ―facilitators‖ of organised crime, who –
       wittingly or unwittingly – opened up avenues for illegal activity. This might particularly address bankers,
       accountants, lawyers and similar professions. Those found to be involved in a criminal way should be
       prosecuted in high-profile cases;

       Systems should be developed, drawing on enhanced international cooperation, to improve the surveillance
        of the use of international development funds by unscrupulous/corrupt government officials motivated by
        the absence otherwise of economic opportunity;

       Governments and regional/international institutions should study what happened to large denomination
        notes, often used as the storage vehicle for illegal transnational profits.

As this discussion progressed, we became increasingly conscious of the need for societies to understand better the
extent to which greater freedom in economic exchange and communications had its darker side. We seemed to be
in an era where individuals were gaining greater freedom for their own activities, but with a lowered sense of
responsibility. Even in sophisticated societies, citizens were relying on their government to develop defences
against cross-border threats which government systems could not in fact achieve. For the most part, not even
political leaders understood the real constraints on their power to deliver adequate defensive measures. While the
media ought to have found a way of describing this problem and goading government into addressing it,
journalists and media corporations were in fact failing to raise the profile of a phenomenon which did not often
have a short-term or high shock value impact. Governments were too easily seduced into thinking that action for
its own sake was achieving something, when they lacked a strategic framework for the long haul. When they no
longer had a monopoly on border-control, weapons or information, they could not afford to be satisfied only with
a tactical approach. The whole phenomenon needed to be understood in greater depth.

Many participants were perhaps surprised that, although they already knew the extent of the threat, they had
succeeded in identifying approaches which had not yet been tried, but which could be taken up effectively without
excessive cost. For a start, practitioners and academics saw the opportunity to liaise much more closely on
deeper, more urgent analysis of the problem as it was playing out in practice. Participants also seemed
determined, since there were no politicians at the table, to deliver messages back to senior levels of government
about their failure to recognise the way the world was changing. While one conference was unlikely to generate
enough of a catalytic effort to change the way in which this whole area was handled, there were some serious
players who saw that a start had to be made somehow.

This was a remarkable group of different experiences and professional perspectives. It was held together and
guided by a chairman with a well-honed capacity to see the core point in every exchange. And the conference
came at a time when, it seems, a number of organisations, not least within the European Union and the UN, were
beginning to realise that more needed to be done. Ditchley hopes that this thought will have been given a further
push by the conference.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its
content or expression.

                          Chairman : The Rt Hon Lord Wilson of Dinton GCB
                                     Master Emmanuel College, Cambridge (2002-). Formerly:
                                     Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service
                                     (1998-2002); Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Home Office
                                     (1994-97). A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Professor Letizia Paoli
     Professor, Leuven Institute of Criminology, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium (2006-).

Mr Yvon Dandurand
    Criminologist and Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies, University College of the
    Fraser Valley, British Columbia; Senior Associate, International Centre for criminal Law Reform and
    Criminal Justice Policy, Vancouver.
Mr Horst Intscher
    Consultant (2008-). Formerly: Director, Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Ottawa (2000-07); Assistant
    Deputy Solicitor General; Assistant Deputy Minister and Ontario Representative to the Government of
Mr J Philip Murray
    President, J Philip Murray Strategic Advisors Inc, Ontario (2006-). Formerly: Commissioner, Royal
    Canadian Mounted Police (1994—2000).

Mr Nicholas Ilett
    Director, General Affairs (Policy and Resources) and Deputy Head, European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF),
    European Commission (2006-).
Mrs Lotte Knudsen
    Head of Unit, Organised Crime and Police Cooperation; Acting Director, Internal Security and Criminal
    Justice, DG Justice, Freedom and Security, The European Commission, Brussels.

Dr José Luís Lopes da Mota
     President, Eurojust, The Hague (2007-); National Member for Portugal, Eurojust; Crown Prosecutor.

Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière
    Judge, Palais de Justice, Paris. Formerly: Head, Anti-Terrorist Division, Palais de Justice.

Dr Axel Küchle
    German Foreign Service (1990-); Deputy Head, Unit for Drugs Control and Organised Crime, Federal
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin.
Mr Klaus von Lampe
    Researcher, Free University Berlin; Editor ‗Trends in Organised Crime‘.

Professor Alexandre Kukhianidze
     Director, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, Caucasus Office, Georgia (2001-);        Professor,
     Department of Political Science, Tbilisi State University (2001-).

Mr King-shing Tang
    Commissioner of Police, Hong Kong (2007-).

Professor Ernesto Savona
     Professor of Criminology, Università Cattolica del S Cuore, Milan (2003-); Director, TRANSCRIME,
     University of Trento, Milan.

Dr Vesselin Popovski
    Director of Studies, International Order and Justice, United Nations University, Tokyo.

Mr Charles Goredema
    Programme Head, Organised Crime and Money Laundering, Institute for Security Studies, Cape Town.

Mr Ludo Block
    Manager, IRS Forensic Services and Investigations, Rotterdam (2008-);         PhD Candidate in Public
    Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Mrs Moira Andrews
     Head of International Affairs, Crown Prosecution Service, London (2006-).
Professor Ian Angell
     Professor of Information Systems, Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management,
     London School of Economics (1986-).
Mr Ashish Bhatt
     Principal, The Canonbury Group (2007-); A Director, United Nations Association of the UK (2005-).
Professor Michael Clarke
     Director, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, London (2007-); Visiting
     Professor of Defence Studies, King‘s College London.
Mr David Coates
     Director, Financial Crime and Secretary to the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group, British Bankers
     Association, London (2006-).
Mr Stephen Fidler
     Defence and Security Editor, The Financial Times (2001-).
Sir Christopher Fox
     Managing Director, Chris Fox Consulting (2006-). Formerly: President, Association of Chief Police
     Officers (2003-06).
Mr Misha Glenny
     Author and Journalist; Founding Director, SEE Change 2004. Formerly: Central Europe Correspondent,
Mr William Hughes
     Director General, Serious Organised Crime Agency, London.
Dr Ian Kearns
     Deputy Director, Institute for Public Policy Research, London; Deputy Chair, Independent Commission on
     National Security in the Twenty-First Century, Media Commentator.
Ms Sharon Kerr QPM
     Commander, Specialist Crime Directorate, Metropolitan Police Service, London (2007-). Formerly: Head
     of Serious and Organised Crime for London, Metropolitan Police Service (2003-07).
Sir Stephen Lander KCB
     Chair, Serious Organised Crime Agency (2004-). Formerly: Independent Commissioner, The Law Society
     (2002-05); Director-General, The Security Service (1996-2002).
Ms Lesley Pallett
     Head, Drugs and International Crime Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.
Mr Philip Robinson
     Leader, Financial Crime Sector, Financial Crime and Intelligence Division, Financial Services Authority,
Mrs Alison Saunders
     Head, Organised Crime Division, Crown Prosecution Service, London.
Mr Rob Wainwright
     Deputy Director, Serious Organised Crime Agency, London. Formerly: Chairman, Europol Management
     Board; Director, National Criminal Intelligence Service, London.

Mr Stephen Webb
    Head, Organised and Financial Crime Unit, The Home Office, London (2003-).
Ms Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG
    Senior Fellow, International Law, Chatham House (2004-); visiting Professor, University College London

Professor Federico Varese
     Professor of Criminology, Law Faculty, University of Oxford (2006-); Director, Extra-Legal Governance
     Institute, University of Oxford; Editor, Global Crime.

Mr Sandro Calvani
    Director, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, Turin, Italy.

Professor James Finckenauer
     Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University (1980-). Formerly: Director, International Center,
     National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice, Washington DC (1998-
Mr Bruce Ohr
     Chief, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, US Department of Justice, Washington DC (1999-).
Professor Louise Shelley
     Director, Transnational Crime & Corruption Center & Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason
     University, Washington DC.
Mr Bruce Swartz
     Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, US Department of Justice, Washington DC (2000-).
Mr Peter Verga
     Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas‘ Security Affairs, The
     Pentagon, Washington DC.


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