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EXCLUSIVE: Major Government review of tackling serious organised crime unlikely to look at issues of

A GOVERNMENT inquiry into how to tackle the growing menace of serious and organised crime, that is due to soon report its findings, is unlikely to be looking into corruption issues, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.

The review was ordered last October by Home Secretary Priti Patel after it emerged there were at least 4,500 organised crime groups in the country and it was costing the UK economy a whopping £37 billion a year.

The review, which is due to report in the spring, is being led by Sir Craig Mackey, former deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who retired from that post in December 2018.

Corruption of law enforcement officers, including police, by crime gangs is a major enabler of organised crime groups, which allows them to flourish and evade prosecution, as shown by the controversial 2002 Met Police Operation Tiberius report.

NO REPLY: Sir Craig Mackey (Wikipedia)

We wrote to Sir Craig in November as the review was just getting underway.

The letter said: "I understand you will be leading the Home Office review of the response to serious and organised crime.

Could I please ask if your remit will involve looking at the risk posed by the corruption or law enforcement officers by organised criminals? Corruption such as this is one of the key enablers for organised crime to succeed. To review the response to organised crime without looking at this significant aspect of it would, I fear, be a fruitless exercise. One starting point would be to look at the Met Police post Operation Tiberius. The document is available should you require one and not be able to obtain it directly from the Met Police.

SEIZED: A drugs haul by the National Crime Agency (NCA)

Operation Tiberius uncovered significant suspected corruption linked to identified organised crime gangs in just one part of London (north east). It is understood that many of the recommendations were never carried out and some of the identified syndicates went on to become more powerful and still prosper today. I feel any review should look at what the Met actually did in response to Tiberius and whether it investigated the threat of corruption linked to organised crime in the four other parts of the capital. The threat of corruption in the Met has not gone away and the IOPC is still carrying out investigations.

"I have also discovered through FOI that the threat of corruption remains in West Midlands Police and probably in most police forces. From a journalistic perspective I would appreciate to know if your review will involve looking into the current threat of and future response to corruption of law enforcement agents linked to organised crime."

Sir Craig did not respond to the letter, but a Home Office spokeswoman confirmed he had sight of it.

ACTION: Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered the review due to report this spring

She also confirmed the original scope of the inquiry, which did not involve looking into corruption, would not be changing.

The original remit of the review is to look at ways "of bolstering the response to threats such as county lines, people trafficking, drugs, child sexual exploitation, fraud and illicit finance."

It is considering "the powers, capabilities, governance and funding required to tackle today’s threats across law enforcement and the justice system in England and Wales - including the National Crime Agency, local police forces and regional organised crime units."

Sir Craig was criticised after it emerged that he remained in his car while terrorist Khalid Masood stabbed an unarmed police officer to death during the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017.

A retired Met Police detective, with years of experience of investigating organised crime gangs, said: "If you are carrying out a major review into policing of organised crime, then if looking at tackling corruption is not going to play a major part it could well be a waste of time."

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