Welcome to the second instalment of The Beat, your weekly wrap-up of strategic policing and law enforcement news. This week we look at the latest policy ideas about how to combat daesh (IS), efforts to counter corruption in the United Kingdom, counterfeit food and drink, the dangers of resting on our laurels in relation to piracy in the Indian Ocean, and the world’s top criminal podcasts.
Preventative Priorities Survey 2015
The Council of Foreign Relations’ Centre for Preventative Action has released its survey for 2015. This evaluates ongoing and potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring in the coming year and is designed to assist US policymakers prioritise competing conflict prevention and mitigation demands. Not surprisingly, the intensification of the conflict in Iraq due to territorial gains by daesh (IS) tops the list. Other priorities of interest for strategic policing and law enforcement include a highly disruptive cyberattack on US critical infrastructure, and an intensification of the Syrian civil war resulting from increased external support from warring parties.
UK Anti-Corruption Plan 2014
The UK parliament has handed down its Anti-Corruption Plan, which is notable for pulling together all of the UK’s anti-corruption activity in a ‘whole-of-government’ approach for the first time.
The immediate domestic priorities are to build a better picture of the threat of corruption, increase protection, and strengthen the law-enforcement response. However, the plan was quickly criticised for failing to address a loophole in the London property market; namely, that the new rules aiming to improve transparency of company ownership wouldn’t apply to property.
Food and drink corruption
Also in the UK, the increasing globalisation of the food-supply industry opens up new opportunities for organised crime. Interpol and Europol seized more than 1,200 tonnes of fake or substandard food and nearly 430,000 litres of counterfeit drinks in 2014. The potential move of organised criminal gangs from illicit drugs to food has the potential to harm a much wider cross-section of society.
Regional approach to piracy
Elsewhere, some good news. No vessels were captured by pirates in the waters off Somalia in 2014, according to the International Maritime Organisation. However, this is no time for complacency on piracy, as David Connery and Rob McLaughlin outline. Collaborating on a new maritime security regime could assist in stopping the flow of illicit drugs to destination markets, and offer further opportunities to deal with important shared maritime security challenges in this region and beyond.
- The Financial Action Task Force/Asia Pacific Group and Australian government will hold a ‘Plenary discussion’ in February about the fourth mutual evaluation of Australia’s compliance with the international money laundering recommendations.
- The Australian House of Representatives is back from summer holidays, starting the year with a public hearing from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for its inquiry into the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 January.
- The trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, also known as the surviving Boston Bomber, is set to begin within the coming weeks. There’s been considerable difficulty in selecting a jury for the trial, ranging from the notion of moving the trial out of Massachusetts to find enough jurors who don’t know someone affected by the bombing, to finding enough jurors in favour of the death penalty in Boston.
- The White House will hold a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in the wake of recent attacks in Ottawa, Sydney and Paris. The February 18 event will bring together US officials to discuss their engagement with social service providers, religious leaders and law enforcement to counter violent extremism and what more can be done. Watch this space.
And lastly, suffering from Serial withdrawals?
We are too. The This American Life podcast, still firmly holding on to its spot at the top of the podcast charts, discusses the conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999. But it hasn’t escaped criticism. Paul Farrell discusses why such a podcast wouldn’t be possible in the context of the Australian law enforcement and judicial systems. Meanwhile, the state of Maryland recently recommended that a judge deny Adan Syed’s recently-fielded petition for a new post-conviction appeal.
Clare Murphy is an intern working within ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program. Image courtesy of Flickr user Enrico Carcasci.