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CPS responds to changing nature of serious economic and organised crime with a new team

|News, Fraud and economic crime , International and organised crime , Proceeds of crime

The Crown Prosecution Service is today launching a united team to tackle the changing nature of serious and organised crime.

The new Serious Economic, Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID) brings together specialists in economic crime, organised crime, proceeds of crime and international to deliver justice, combat crime across borders and take money from criminals.

Organised crime groups are increasingly evolving and developing their tactics. They are using fraud schemes as part of their offending and laundering the proceeds of their crimes. Similarly, further investigation into money laundering or fraud operations often links back to organised criminality.

The CPS has established SEOCID in response to this shift in how criminals operate, enabling us to make the best use of the specialist knowledge within the different teams.

This combined team of specialists will continue to work closely with investigators to disrupt the emerging threats of organised criminal gangs using cyber technology to exploit people, businesses, and the Government.

Victims of complex SEOCID cases are often based in multiple jurisdictions. The directorate will work to improve their experience by ensuring investigators and prosecutors work closely and have a joint victim and witness strategy from the outset.

Gregor McGill, The Director of Legal Services, said: “The lines between organised criminality, fraud, money laundering and international crime are becoming increasingly blurred in our digital-first society.

“We have responded by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime prosecutions to deliver justice. 

“Ensuring everyone has the skills to manage these complex cases will enable better opportunities to stop criminals from financially benefitting from their offending, build resilience and provides enhanced agility in the face of new and emerging threats.”

Establishing the new Serious Economic, Organised Crime and International Directorate is part of the CPS Economic Crime Strategy 2025 and is one of 16 actions completed over the last year.

Since the strategy launched, achievements include:

  • Asset recovery: The CPS establishing an International Proceeds of Crime Board with partner agencies to improve efficiency with asset recovery processes.
  • Training: Prosecutors have been given specialist training on ‘Post EU exit Extradition and International enquiry’ and we are currently working on a cryptocurrency foundation course for prosecutors with HMRC.
  • Digital: The CPS has continued to push the use of technology when complex cases are in court, including electronic jury bundles and remote access for witnesses, where appropriate.

Gregor McGill continued: “The launch of the Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate is one of many ways the CPS is responding to the changing nature of crime.

“We are agile in the face of shifting threats and the new team will enable us to use targeted tools to impact behaviours, deter future criminality and compensate victims where possible.”

Notes to editors

The Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate launches today (1 April) and merges the existing International Justice and Organised Crime Division and the Specialist Fraud Division into two new divisions working alongside CPS Proceeds of Crime as one team.

This new structure will:

  • Enable us to ensure that we are making the most of the specialist knowledge that our staff have on serious, organised, and economic crime to deliver justice, combatting crime across borders and taking money away from criminals.
  • Further enable earlier engagement with law enforcement so that we are being more proactive in responding to threats.
  • Shape cases to achieve defined outcomes and early resolution.
  • Use targeted legal tools to impact behaviours, deter future criminality, recover proceeds and compensate victims where we are able to.

Between 2016/17 and 2020/21, the CPS recovered assets worth £568 million from criminals through confiscation orders. The CPS Proceeds of Crime Division assisted HMCTS in recovering £390 million of that amount, of which nearly £126 million was returned to victims of crime by way of compensation.

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