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Major weaknesses in police efforts against organised crime

The absence of a strategy and lack of management parameters make it difficult for the police to prioritise efforts to combat organised crime. Outdated ICT systems are also an obstacle to effective efforts in this field. - Several measures have been implemented to improve the police’s work and police budgets have been increased. There is nevertheless a considerable potential to increase efforts against organised crime, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 5/11/2010 12:30 PM

Document 3:10 (2009–2010) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into police efforts against organised crime was submitted to the Storting on 11 May 2010.

Organised crime is on the increase in Norway. This requires greater cooperation on investigations and the sharing of information. The OAG’s investigation shows that cooperation between police districts is inadequate and that it is difficult to get police districts to take responsibility for investigations that cut across police district boundaries. Several key players are also calling for stronger intelligence and analysis work at the national and regional level. - It is a matter of concern that nearly all police districts so clearly state that cooperation on crime across districts is unsatisfactory, says Mr Kosmo.

It also emerges that a strategy has long been lacking for how to combat organised crime. Despite several action plans and documents having been prepared that deal with aspects of organised crime, they have had little effect on the police districts’ priorities. Little work has been done to develop management parameters for the police districts’ work in this area. This affects how the police districts prioritise their efforts and resources in relation to this type of crime.

The police are entitled to employ a number of methods such as surveillance, covert searches and communications control in their efforts against organised crime. Such methods are often decisive if the police are to succeed in uncovering organised crime. The investigation shows that the police districts report a growing need to use such methods, but that the percentage of completed investigations in which these methods were used fell in the period from 2005 to 2008.

It also emerges from the investigation that the police’s ICT systems do little to facilitate the effective combating of crime. For example, the same information is registered manually in several registers, and the police districts do not have access to other districts’ registers.  - The Ministry must intensify its follow-up efforts in this area significantly, concludes Mr Kosmo.

The Ministry of Justice and the Police emphasises that the effort to combat organised crime has become an important focus area in the criminal justice context, but it acknowledges that an overall review of the efforts in this area is necessary. A white paper will be presented in that connection. Among other things, it will outline how organised crime should be combated. The OAG’s investigation will be an important contribution to the continued efforts against organised crime. 

The document can be downloaded from the link on the right.

The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document No 3:10 (2009-2010), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

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