The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is responsible for improving the national response to crime impacting Australia.
So, how is it doing?
In its 2019-20 annual report, the ACIC assesses that it has been successful in achieving its objectives, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted the criminal environment.
The report outlines the ACIC’s approach to fighting serious and organised crime, and the key results achieved throughout the reporting period.
The ACIC’s approach to fighting crime
The ACIC defines its approach as “Discover, understand and connect to improve the national ability to respond to crime impacting Australia.”
This approach is built upon four key principles:
Collecting and analysing data to discover key crime threats impacting Australia, vulnerabilities, patterns, methods and trends.
Building on the discovery phase to come to a deeper understanding of how crime influences Australia, which helps to inform a strategic and effective response.
The ACIC collaborates with and helps its partners by:
- Providing systems and services.
- Sharing criminal intelligence, policing and other relevant information.
- Connecting them to the ACIC and each other.
Improving the national ability to prevent and disrupt crime and protect the community involves:
- Conducting collaborative investigations and intelligence operations.
- Producing intelligence with and for partners to help disrupt serious and organised crime.
- Enabling partners to undertake more effective policing and community safeguarding activities.
Key results throughout 2019-20
The annual report highlights key achievements during the reporting period across the ACIC’s four key focus areas.
Discover and Understand
Key achievements include:
- 208 previously unknown targets discovered.
- 139 intelligence products containing examination material finalised.
- 153 analytical intelligence products finalised.
- 6 potential new Australian Priority Organisation Targets (APOTs) listed.
- 157 examinations to discover new information about serious and organised crime conducted.
- Key reports produced on gangs, cybercrime, wastewater drug data and emerging threats from criminal encrypted communications.
85% of stakeholders surveyed agreed that the ACIC provides useful information on the changing crime environment such as highlighting new crime threats and trends.
Throughout 2019-20 the ACIC focused on strengthening relationships within the National Intelligence Community and providing critical support in responding to the criminal risks facing Australia.
Key achievements include:
- Provision of 14 systems that help partners prevent, detect and reduce crime in the community.
- Delivery of enhancements to the Australian Firearms Information Network system.
- 14,507 information and intelligence products disseminated among 321 national and international law enforcement partners and other stakeholders.
- 3 National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program reports released.
89% of stakeholders agreed that the ACIC’s information and intelligence services were valuable to their work.
Through discovering, understanding and connecting, the ACIC improves its ability to respond to serious and organised crime.
Key achievements include:
- 5 APOTs disrupted to the point that they are no longer considered APOT-level threats.
- 68 entities involved in 9 financial referrals totalling $22.2 million of offences.
- 34 criminal entities disrupted.
- 260 charges laid and 106 people charged.
- $3.1 billion street value of drugs and precursors seized.
84% of stakeholders surveyed agreed that the ACIC’s intelligence and information inform policy and legal responses to criminal activity threatening Australia.
Focus on priority targets
The Australian Priority Organisation Target (APOT) list details the top targets worldwide that significantly impact Australia’s serious and organised crime environment.
The ACIC has engaged in international cooperation to disrupt global and local APOT networks. This involves cooperation between multiple partner agencies, including law enforcement, national intelligence, and regulatory agencies.
Since October 2019, agencies have collaborated on 15 APOT disruption strategies. Five APOTs were disrupted to the point where they were no longer considered priority threats, as highlighted above.
National Criminal Intelligence System
The ACIC continued to develop the National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS) throughout the reporting period. This system will:
- Provide a national and unified picture of criminal activity.
- Improve officer safety.
- Provide national policing information.
- Facilitate cooperation across jurisdictions and agencies.
The ACIC states that “NCIS has already made over seven million correlations across records of persons of interest nationally.”
Australia faces significant serious and organised crime threats in a rapidly evolving criminal landscape. The ACIC is responsible for ensuring that Australia can respond effectively. It achieves this aim by discovering the key crime threats and trends, and collaborating with global and international partner agencies, to inform an effective response that disrupts criminal networks and safeguards Australian interests.