The law-abiding people of Europe, and I, need your help.
By Bill Newton Dunn MEP
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats
One of the greatest cancers which is eating away at our society is Organised Crime. International gangs work across frontiers to bring in fake goods of every possible kind ; they traffick heroin, cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy and sell them on every street corner ; they traffick illegal immigrants, and women and children for prostitution, crime, and pornography. They use corruption to buy their way past obstacles ; and they use money laundering to conceal their ill-gotten gains.
Millions of legitimate jobs, and billions of tax revenues for governments, are lost because of the activities of these gangs. At the very time when we urgently need jobs and our government urgently needs more taxes to pay off some of Britain's horrifying increasing debts.
The gangs use the freedom of the huge single market inside the EU to distribute their wares. Even the UK's supposed border controls have little effect against them.
Who are the gangs ? In Italy they are the Mafia and three other major gangs who have spread into other parts of Europe; there are Nigerian and West African gangs ; there are Russian, Lithuanian, and Albanian gangs : there are organised Romanian begging and thieving gangs ; and there are Chinese gangs. Some of them work together, some alone. Some work with terrorists. All are clever, well-organised, and mobile. Their activities grow year by year.
Here's the problem. All the police forces in the UK and in the EU too, are local and they can not cross borders to arrest any criminals. It is possible, occasionally, to organise international cooperation between police forces but that is slow and time-consuming. The gangs are playing in a superior league.
The solution ? The European Parliament has just set up a special temporary committee to try to solve the problem. I am leading on the committee for the Liberals.
Our committee has to do two things. First, we have to try to estimate the total scale of the cancer, of all the organised crimes in all their different aspects. Then, we have to make recommendations for how Europeans should work better together to defeat the criminal gangs.
If we can show publicly how many millions of jobs are being lost, and how much revenue our governments could gain by closer cooperation across Europe, then it will be an extremely valuable exercise. National governments will be stung into much closer cooperation.
How can you help ? By sending me your ideas or information that you have about the activities of organised criminal gangs. I look forward to hearing from you.