By Mark Pyman, William Hughes, Julia Muravska for Transparency International UK. “Corruption feeds organised crime and organised crime feeds corruption.” This is one of the key points made by Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme (TI-DSP) in its paper ‘Organised crime, corruption, and the vulnerability of defence and security forces.’ It was also one of the main messages delivered by TI-DSP’s Director Mark Pyman at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, during the workshop focusing on the inter-linkages between organised crime and corruption.
While TI-DSP has long considered organised crime to be a major contributor to corruption in the defence and security sector, ‘Organised crime, corruption, and the vulnerability of defence and security forces.’ is the Programme’s first research foray into this field. It begins by exploring the concrete links between organised crime and corruption, and it highlights how defence and security forces can themselves become involved in organised crime. It is corruption that is often the medium by which the army and police officers that are meant to secure citizens are in fact directly criminally harming them. The paper also points to the growth of organised crime, often associated with corruption, in post-conflict countries as a result of insufficient attention being paid to these issues during the post-conflict reconstruction phase.
Because of the relationship between organised crime and corruption in this contexts, ‘Organised crime, corruption, and the vulnerability of defence and security forces’ calls for these two threats to be addressed jointly – neither can be ignored when trying to reduce the other.