Due to globalisation and rapidly developing technology, the majority of serious and organised crime affecting Australia is transnational in nature. It is therefore more important than ever for law enforcement agencies to establish international relationships to facilitate the sharing of information, and to ensure that various agencies are aware of each other’s activities against criminal targets to allow for a coordinated response.
In its 2017-18 Annual Report, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) outlines how it works with agencies and countries of strategic importance to gather and share intelligence, and to enable joint responses that prevent, disrupt and reduce the impact of transnational organised crime groups on Australia.
Who does the ACIC target?
The ACIC has recently developed the Australian Priority Organisation Target list, which identifies transnational crime groups posing the greatest threat to Australia, and guides strategies in response.
In addition to identifying specific targets, the ACIC also produces key event assessments which have contributed towards notable results including the record 1.4 tonne cocaine seizure on board a yacht in the South Pacific, and the disruption of the Phantom Secure encrypted communications platform.
The ACIC’s work in combatting international crime focuses on a number of key areas including:
- National security
- Drug crime
- International organised crime groups and gangs
- Financial crime
- Emerging threats
How does the ACIC engage with international partners?
The ACIC utilises a number of mechanisms in its international engagement strategy.
Vestigo Task Force
The Vestigo Task Force provides a framework for engaging with international and domestic partners and sharing intelligence relating to serious and organised crime. During 2017-18, Vestigo-related intelligence and operational activity with partners resulted in:
- The seizure of over $7 million in cash.
- The seizure of over $396 million (estimated street value) of illicit drugs.
- The disruption of 12 criminal entities.
- The identification of 41 previously unknown targets.
International deployments are a key component of the ACIC’s focus on transnational crime impacting Australia. These deployments allow the ACIC to work with international partners to identify major organised crime groups, identifying strategic opportunities and coordinating operations to disrupt them.
ACIC staff are deployed to a number of international agencies including:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada
- National Crime Agency, United Kingdom
- Europol, the Netherlands
Recent deployments have delivered significant results in a number of key areas including:
- Illicit substances: improved understanding of methodologies used to import significant amounts of illicit substances into Australia via couriers on international flights.
- Threats: support to Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG) partners regarding offshore money laundering syndicate controllers.
- Cybercrime: identification of international cybercriminals targeting Australia, and joint operational activity identifying new targets related to money laundering and drug trafficking.
International relationships and collaboration are also strengthened through integration of staff from international partner agencies into ACIC teams.