Organized crime and national security: a dubious connection?

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This article problematizes the growing tendency to characterize organized crime as a national security threat, referring primarily to the situation in the United Kingdom but also drawing on international and comparative examples. Three distinct arguments are presented contesting this comparison. First, it is questionable whether either concept is sufficiently clear in a definitional sense for the comparison to be meaningful analytically. The second empirical argument suggests that organized crime, as it is defined and encountered usually in the United Kingdom, does not yet constitute such a threat. Third, and regardless of the validity of the preceding arguments, it is argued in a normative sense that such a comparison should be resisted to the greatest extent possible, given the extraordinary legal consequences it entails. These claims indicate how caution must be exercized in making such a connection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-251
Number of pages32
JournalNew Criminal Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal behaviour
  • National security
  • Organized crime

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