The Beat
29 Jan 2015|

Fake food?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.

Coming up

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.