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Organised Crime Research Network


A UCL-based research network on preventing and controlling organised crime


Archive for the 'News and events' Category

Upcoming Seminar: “Armed Conflict, Organised Crime and the Rise of the Commercial Insurgency”

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 19 January 2018

The UCL Organised Research Network (OCRN) is very pleased to announce our next Seminar:  “Armed Conflict, Organised Crime and the Rise of the Commercial Insurgency by Shaun Ryles, formerly at UK MOD, who will share his experience tackling crime around the globe.

The seminar will take place next Wednesday 24th January 2018 in the Teaching Room at 35 Tavistock Square, Jill Dando Institute, UCL, London WC1H 9EZ. As always, the event is free, open to the general public, and will end with a small networking reception with our fellow OCRN members.

Speaker Profile

After decades of operating in the frontline of geopolitics as a military officer, Shaun has spent the last five years working in the specific diplomatic environments associated with post-conflict security sector reform initiatives. He has extensive first-hand experience in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and holds master’s degrees in Business Administration, International Relations (Cambridge) and Strategic Management.  As a fluent Spanish speaker he has spent the last few years working in Latin America, and has recently returned from a year in Mexico City where he conducted extensive research in the use of security forces to combat high intensity organised crime.

Upcoming Seminar: ‘The war on Organised Crime: The African Case’

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 5 December 2017

We are delighted to announce our second seminar in our Seminar Series for the 2017 – 2018 academic year: ‘The War on Organised Crime: The African case’ by Dr. Sasha Jespesrson. Join us on Wednesday December 6 2017 at 17:00 at the Teaching Room of the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science in 35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ.

As always, there will be informal networking over drinks and nibbles after the seminar.

Speaker Profile

Dr. Sasha Jesperson

Sasha Jesperson is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University Twickenham. Before coming to St Mary’s, Sasha was leading research on organised crime at the Royal United Services Institute, working closely with government departments to ensure that research is useful for strengthening policymaking on organised crime. Her research background is on organised crime and particularly the role of development is preventing and responding to criminal activity.

Sasha completed her PhD at the London School of Economics. Her research examined international initiatives to address organised crime through peace building missions under the framework of the security-development nexus, comparing examples from Sierra Leone and Bosnia. Sasha also completed an MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and worked for Amnesty International for three years, primarily focusing on human rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts.

Upcoming Seminar: “Migrating ‘Ndrangheta: The mobility of Italy’s most powerful mafia”

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 17 October 2017


We are happy to announce our first seminar of the 2017-2018 academic year: “Migrating ‘Ndrangheta. The mobility of Italy’s most powerful mafia” by Dr Anna Sergi. Join us on Tuesday 31st of October 2017 at 17:00 at the Teaching Room of the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science in 35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ.

As always, there will be drinks and nibbles after the seminar.

Seminar summary

The clans of the ‘Ndrangheta, from the Southern Italian region of Calabria, have become the wealthiest and most powerful Italian mafia groups, allegedly present in over 25 countries around the world, undisputed oligarchs of the cocaine market and reliable criminal partners for other criminal groups around the world. Their presence in Europe, Canada, USA and Australia mainly has been certainly facilitated by the mass migration from Calabria in the past century while current criminal relationships are rekindled thanks to the availability of faster communication and means of travels. Moreover, the Calabrian region is exceptionally challenged in its development and in the implementation of innovation strategies, which is cause and effect of the mafia presence.

The ‘Ndrangheta clans are poly-crime criminal networks and they engage in a variety of criminal and semi-legal activities, from illegal waste dumping to online gambling, from EU fraud to the flower industry, from money laundering to renewable energies. The purpose of this talk is to present the ‘Ndrangheta clans in today’s forms, by looking at  examples from Europe, Australia, Canada, and USA specifically focusing at the way the clans exploit local economy to pursue their global criminal activities.

Speaker profile

Dr Anna Sergi

Lecturer in Criminology and Deputy Director Centre for Criminology, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK

Dr Anna Sergi holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Essex, UK, an LLM in Criminal Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice from King’s College, London and a specialist law degree from the University of Bologna, Italy. As a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Essex, she specialises in organised crime and mafia studies, from different perspectives, privileging comparative research approaches in policing and criminal justice methods. She has been a visiting fellow in different institutions, including New York University, Flinders University, University of Melbourne, the Australian Institute of Criminology and the University of Montreal.

Dr Sergi has published articles in international peer-reviewed journals and two books, one about the ‘Ndrangheta and the glocal dimensions of Calabrian mafia clans, and another on the policing of organised crime and mafias in Italy, UK, USA and Australia. Currently, she is working on project on mafia mobility across Europe, Canada and Australia, funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust in the UK.

Upcoming seminar: Make America Great Again? Donald Trump’s War on Drugs

By uctzhid, on 3 December 2016

Please save the date for our next seminar entitled “Make America Great Again? Donald Trump’s War on Drugs”. It will take place at 6:00pm on Monday 5 December 2016 in the Teaching Room of the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, Jill Dando Institute, UCL, London, WC1H 9EZ.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump argued that Mexican people were bringing drugs and crime into the US. One month later, he accused the Mexican government of corruption after drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison. One of his main pledges as a presidential candidate was to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Dr John Collins will talk about the implications of Trump’s election on drug policy and organised crime. Our guest speaker is the Executive Director of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project and coordinator of the Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy.

He earned a PhD from the Department of International History at LSE. His research focuses on Anglo-American relations and international drug control over the period 1939-1964 and the creation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961.

This event is open to the general public and will end with a networking sesión with our fellow OCRN members.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Meet and Greet Event

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 27 October 2016

Thursday 10th November 2016, 17:30

Sir David Davies Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building UCL

1-19, Torrington Pl, London WC1E 6BT, UK


We are pleased to invite you to our next OCRN evening at UCL. As the primary aim of UCL OCRN is to create a networking platform for those interested in the field of organised crime, we are pleased to announce that our next evening will be a networking event where members and prospective members can meet and greet. The UCL OCRN Meet and Greet will kick off with a small talk on current OCRN related progress; this will then be followed by complimentary refreshments.

Whether you are a student looking to meet others like yourself, an academic wanting to scout for new collaborations, a practitioner interested in the latest academic developments in the field of organised crime, please do come and join us!

This event is free, and we welcome anyone who is interested in the topic of organised crime.

If you have any questions, please email us, visit our blog, or contact us via social media.

Upcoming seminar: Wildlife trafficking and its security implications

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 29 September 2016

We are happy to announce our next seminar: Wildlife trafficking and its security implications, which will take place at 6:00 pm on October 10, 2016, in the Teaching Room, of the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science.

Wildlife trafficking is a complex crime that covers a wide range of illegal activities, from poaching to corruption and black markets, weaving vast networks of participants transnationally. It has environmental, economic and social implications.

The scale of the problem is staggering. In 2013, the United Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that wildlife trafficking was organized crime on a massive scale; while just this week, reports emerged naming ringleaders profiting from $23 billion in annual trade in illicit animals, involved in a network that spans multiple countries and tangles international governments.

Our guest speaker Cathy Haenlein, is a research analyst on national security and resilience at the Royal United Services Institute.

She conducts research and analysis on a range of African political and security issues, with a focus on organised crime, the illegal wildlife trade, peacekeeping and counter-violent extremism.

She formerly worked for three years as Deputy Editor of RUSI Newsbrief and Associate Editor of the RUSI Journal. Prior to joining RUSI, Cathy worked for various international NGOs, including as a project development specialist based in Madagascar, focusing on environmental programmes. Before this, she spent five years in Italy, producing and writing for two European journals on EU–African relations, with a focus on migration.

Cathy holds an MSc (distinction) in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, with a focus on conflict, peacekeeping and governance. She also holds a BA Hons (first class) in Social Sciences from Durham University, is an experienced editor and graphic designer, and a qualified project manager, holding PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications.

Be sure to join us Monday October 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm, in the Teaching Room, of the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ.

As usual, there will be an informal session to chat and network with fellow OCRN members after the seminar.

Using technology and intelligence to fight human trafficking

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 13 July 2016

Don’t miss our next seminar: “Using technology and intelligence to fight human trafficking” with Dr Bill Peace.

Bill will talk about how the STOP APP collects information on human trafficking, which is later analysed in the intelligence-led centre.

The STOP APP empowers every person with a smart phone to take action against human trafficking. It is the first of its kind in combining community empowerment, big data management and anti-trafficking expertise to disrupt, combat and prevent this global issue.

The seminar will take place on July 26 at 5:30pm in the Teaching Room of the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science (35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ), and will be followed by a small networking reception with fellow OCRN members.


Speaker’s Bio:

Bill is a security and intelligence professional of some 30 years standing. Most recently he served in the leadership of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Prior to that he worked for the National Criminal Intelligence Service, and in various Civil Service roles embracing policy and operational aspects of defence, security, intelligence, counter-terrorism and protection.

In SOCA, he had responsibility for developing the intelligence management strategy and related capabilities. This included establishing the open source intelligence unit and overseeing information legal issues such as the operation of authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and compliance with the Data Protection Act. He led the development of approaches to intelligence exploitation through ‘big data’ analytics and data fusion, and worked on problems of corruption by organised crime.
Bill also led the UK’s national Financial Intelligence Unit, which resided in SOCA, managing a significant element of the national response to the threat from money laundering and terrorist financing, including the UK’s regime for national reporting of suspicious financial activities and transactions. In addition he held portfolios for managing strategy, international law enforcement cooperation through Interpol, and corporate risk.

Bill Holds MA and PhD degrees in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Tomorrow: International Crime Science Conference 2016

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 11 July 2016

The UCL Organised Crime Research Network will be participating in the International Crime Science Conference—which will take place tomorrow July 12 at the British Library—with a parallel session on organised crime.

The session, titled “The European Refugee Crisis and Organised Crime” will be chaired by Dr Paul Gill, from UCL Security and Crime Science, and will feature Klaus Von Lampe, from Jon Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Chiara Galletti, from Crime, Violence and Instability work stream.

Given the prominence of migration in Europe’s current political debates, this session promises to be enlightening while contributing to the debate from academic and practitioner perspectives on this phenomenon’s effect on organised crime.

The session will take place at 15:00 in the Dickens Room.