What is the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is the country’s national criminal intelligence agency with specialist investigative capabilities. The ACIC is the only agency in Australia that is exclusively focused on combatting serious and organised crime.
In its 2020-21 annual report, the ACIC provides insight into its capabilities and key achievements throughout the reporting period.
The ACIC’s capabilities
The ACIC’s specialist investigative capabilities include:
- Collecting criminal intelligence and combining it with information and intelligence from partner agencies to create and share a comprehensive national picture of criminality in Australia.
- Providing timely and reliable police and law enforcement information services and, through consultation and collaboration, developing new and innovative capabilities.
- Utilising coercive powers, similar to those of a Royal Commission, in the course of a special ACIC operation or investigation.
- Working in collaboration with international networks and deploying ACIC officers to countries of strategic importance to counteract serious and organised crime impacting Australia.
Throughout 2020-21, the ACIC achieved the following results:
- 61 disruptions of criminal entities.
- 8 entities involved in 5 financial referrals totalling $48.2 million of offences.
- $1.4 billion estimated street value of drugs and precursors and $66.2 million cash seized.
- 138 intelligence products containing examination material produced.
- 160 analytical intelligence and 2,106 tactical products finalised.
- 14,419 information and intelligence products disseminated among 271 stakeholders.
- Key reports produced on illicit drugs, gangs, cybercrime, illicit tobacco, wastewater drug data and evolving criminal threats to Australia.
- 11 information systems provided to help ACIC partners prevent, detect and reduce crime in the community.
- National Criminal Investigation DNA Database enhanced to provide a platform for identifying missing persons cases.
- 2 million nationally coordinated criminal history checks processed.
Case example: Importation of illicit drugs
In December 2020, the ACIC identified that a crew member of the container ship MSC Joanna was likely involved in serious organised crime. ACIC intelligence was disclosed to partner agencies, who made further enquiries offshore, identifying that the MSC Joanna was due to arrive in Australia in March 2021 and that there was likely to be a cocaine drop from the ship.
The Australian Federal Police established Operation Poitiers, a cross-jurisdictional taskforce, to track the MSC Joanna as it made its way to Sydney. A person of interest identified by ACIC intelligence analysts was observed rendezvousing with the ship at sea before sunrise.
The person of interest was intercepted by maritime police prior to returning to shore and 11 crates containing approximately 200 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $90 million, were seized.
The ACIC uses its specialist capabilities and collaboration with international partners to combat serious and organised crime impacting Australia. Significant results have been achieved throughout 2020-21 and criminal entities have been disrupted, which may act as a deterrence to other would-be criminals.