Organised crime in Germany: Record number of investigations
21 September 2022
Federal Minister of the Interior Faeser steps up pressure on organised crime, seeks tougher action on criminal clans.
“In Germany today, organised crime is under more pressure from law enforcement than ever before”, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser said at a press conference in Berlin this morning. Together with Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Federal Minister Faeser presented the national situation report on organised crime for 2021.
The year 2021 saw almost 700 investigations of organised crime groups, an increase of more than 17 per cent over the previous year.
“We have a record number of investigations”, the federal minister underscored.
The rise in investigations is largely due to the analysis of data from encrypted communications. More than a quarter of the organised crime investigations launched in 2021 relate to information from communications among criminals via the Encrochat network, which were decrypted in 2020.
Breaking up criminal structures and systematically recovering criminal proceeds
Federal Minister Faeser said that organised crime was generally less visible than acts committed by extremists or terrorists, adding,
“This is why we must be careful not to underestimate how serious the threat in this area is.” She said that highly professional groups acted within clandestine international networks and showed a growing propensity for sometimes dramatic violence.
The federal minister said this was why she had made the fight against organised crime one of the focal areas of her work. The aim, she said, was to permanently break up criminal structures and systematically recover criminal assets. To this end, she wants to provide the police with more support for their complex investigations.
Almost half of criminal groups deal in narcotics
In recent weeks, the BKA has hit organised drug-related crime hard, with multiple seizures of large quantities of heroin and cocaine. Drug trafficking and smuggling comprise the largest share of organised crime activities by far: in 2021, almost half (48.1%) of all groups of perpetrators dealt in narcotics.
Federal Minister Faeser said that organised criminal structures continually seek to channel their criminally generated profits into the legal economy and conceal the illegal origin of their assets.
“This is why asset recovery and complex investigations of money laundering are paramount”, she said.
Criminal clans: We won’t let clans flout the rule of law
Organised crime frequently endangers innocent people, Federal Minister Faeser said. She added that the police operation against the motorcycle gang “United Tribuns”, which was banned last week, had seized a large cache of weapons, showing just how dangerous the group was.
The federal minister noted that criminal clans also engage in brutal violence, often in public spaces. She said that the federal and state governments were now stepping up their approach to these clans considerably with more police presence and video surveillance at the relevant trouble spots.
“The message that we need to send is clear”, Federal Minister Faeser said.
“We won’t let criminal clans flout the rule of law. No criminal operating in these structures should feel themselves to be beyond the reach of the police and the justice system.”