You are here

Our research explores the scale and nature of the threat from organised crime, the harm that it causes, and how best to respond.

RUSI as a Global Hub for Discussion on Organised Crime

  • Since 2015, the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC) has brought together policymakers, practitioners and academics to discuss the challenges posed by organised crime and formulate evidence-based strategies to combat these threats.
  • SHOC publishes a weekly blog, The Informer, and has hosted workshops on a wide variety of topics, including: Brexit and the future of UK–EU police cooperation; cyber crime; digital policing and data analytics; the organised crime–terrorism nexus; the mafia outside of Italy; and how to measure the scale of money laundering in the UK. 

Drug Trafficking and Maritime Security

  • Since 2014, RUSI has managed the Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support (CORMS) project on behalf of the European Commission. Coordinated from RUSI's Brussels offices, the project aims to increase the coherence of EU actions under the Cocaine Route Programme (CRP) and the EU Action against Drugs and Organised Crime (EU-ACT), covering Latin America, the Caribbean, West and East Africa, and Central and South Asia. 
  • Since 2017, RUSI has managed the Critical Maritime Routes Monitoring, Support and Evaluation Mechanism (CRIMSON) on behalf of the European Commission. Also coordinated from RUSI's Brussels offices, this project aims to increase the coherence of EU actions under the Critical Maritime Routes Programme (CMR), which builds capacity and information-sharing capabilities among EU maritime security actors in West and East Africa.
  • CORMS and CRIMSON provide ongoing recommendations to the European Commission and project partners to inform future EU-funded programming related to drug trafficking and maritime security.   

Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT)

  • In 2018, RUSI was part of the team that established the IWT Financial Taskforce. In October 2018, HRH the Duke of Cambridge signed a public declaration alongside other members of the taskforce (including Standard Chartered, HSBC, RBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan) committing these institutions to identify specific actions that the financial sector can take to disrupt the trade. 
  • Since 2018, RUSI has delivered ‘follow the money’ training in countries in East and Southern Africa to build capacity to detect and prosecute wildlife-linked money-laundering. 
  • Since 2017, RUSI has researched the form, dynamics and extent of the security threat posed by large-scale illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, arguing that it takes place on an organised, systematic scale across multiple jurisdictions, and must therefore be recognised as transnational organised crime.
  • In 2017, RUSI published a major report exploring the financial dimensions of wildlife crime, and the need to disrupt the financial networks of those engaged in this crime.
  • In 2016, RUSI published a major paper on poaching, wildlife trafficking and security, critically analysing the dominant perceptions of poaching and wildlife trafficking as threats to human security, as drivers of conflict, as funders of terrorism and as revenue streams for organised crime. 

Policing and Security

  • In 2017, RUSI published a major study on the use of technology and data in UK police forces, which showed that forces are not exploiting the data available to them, and identified opportunities to increase police efficiency and effectiveness.
  • In 2018, RUSI published a report exploring the legal and regulatory framework governing the use of machine learning algorithms for police decision-making. The report made a number of policy recommendations for future regulation and ethical use of machine learning for policing.

Illicit Trade

  • Between 2016 and 2018, RUSI’s On TAP project explored the scale, methods and routes of the organised criminal networks involved in the illicit trade in tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals across Europe.
  • Since 2017, RUSI has provided qualitative data to support the quantitative findings of Project SUN, a comprehensive analysis of the scope and scale of the illicit cigarette market in Europe. Last year, RUSI also conducted a study on the exploitation of the internet and delivery services in relation to illicit tobacco and tobacco products.

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

  • Since 2017, RUSI has conducted research on the dynamics of human trafficking in Sudan, mapping its causalities and providing programmatic and policy recommendations for the UK government and international stakeholders.

RUSI also conducts a broad range of research, analysis and consultancy on organised crime for various government departments and police forces.


Cathy Haenlein
Director, Organised Crime and Policing +44 (0) 20 7747 4975
Alexandria Reid
Research Fellow, National Security and Resilience