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Organised crime ‘killing more than terrorism, war and disasters’

THE scale of serious and organised crime in the UK is ‘staggering’ and billions more is needed to tackle it, the National Crime Agency has warned.

NCA director Lynne Owens said more than 180,000 offenders are involved in the ‘chronic and corrosive’ crime, which ‘kills more people every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined’.

In an annual report, the NCA estimates organised crime costs the UK around £37billion per year — nearly £2,000 per family. Ms Owens said the public would ‘feel the consequences’ if funding for policing is not boosted by £2.7billion over the next three years.

The agency also wants extra cash to boost digital forensics, covert surveillance and financial probes.

Ms Owens said today’s gangs ‘care less about what types of crime they’re involved in, as long as it makes profit’.

The annual report said the number of county lines gangs — city drug dealers servicing rural areas — has surged from 720 to more than 2,000 in a year. The agency said some crime gangs are nearly solely made up of young offenders, who use the latest technology and extreme violence.

It said use of encryption and the dark web have increased, and the number of reports of slavery, child sex abuse sites and fraud have also risen.