Examining the use of business analysis techniques to police organised criminal networks

Research Institution / Organisation

Liverpool John Moores University

In Collaboration With

City of London Police

Principal Researcher

Chris Allen

Level of Research


Project Start Date

April 2018

Research Context

​Organised criminals mimic the operation of sophisticated businesses –the only difference being the product they sell is illegal.  On this basis, the researcher will apply established economic analysis techniques to these groups in order to enhance the development of policing strategies and tactics surrounding their disruption.

City of London Police will be used as the primary test force with the intention of later extending the research to a national level.

Questions that will be tested:

Does analysis of facets of an OCG’s internal and external environment [ie social technological, environmental and cultural factors) aid law enforcement pursuit. Specifically:

  • Are there established business analysis techniques suitable for organised crime?;
  • Can these models be applied to disrupt and pursue OCGs?; and
  • How effective are they and can they be developed into a workable toolkit for practitioners?

Research Methodology

​​Techniques such as business process modelling and performance management could be beneficial when assessing Organised Crime Groups (OCGs). Business Process Modelling essentially breaks down the requirements of the specific illicit activities of organised crime that the OCG is involved with.  This is useful because from that one can determine the requirements to carry out the work, such as personnel, positions, connections, resources, profits, external conditions or linked to that, opportunities, demand and competition.  These details can then be worked into anti-organised crime strategies or used as intelligence during an investigation.

Performance Management can be used on an OCG operating in a specific area, such as a borough or housing estate. Using data obtained from police such as crime reports, as well as intelligence reports, over a period of months it is possible to build up a picture of activity, thereby identifying patterns, hotspots and trends, which can then be used to intelligently employ investigative resources.

Additionally, SWOT – a matrix which assesses an organisation's strengths weaknesses, opportunities and threats  – and PESTLE – a tool to track the political, economic, social and technological environment being operated in – both appear to be suitable tools for assessing data obtained from law enforcement surrounding the business operations of these sophisticated illegal entities.

The first part of the research will involve a literature review on the topic, as well as the resources provided within the Chartered Institute of Management and through internet research from various business and criminology journals.  Interviews will be conducted with experts from both the criminology and business management sectors.
Once the suitable analytics tools have been assessed – informed by detailed research and consultation with experts within academia and business economics – and the data gathered, a comparative analysis of the viability of each of the tools used will then be undertaken. Through the application of techniques to various case studies, the aim is to develop a typology of techniques listing suitable devices applicable to groups of different structures and criminal portfolios.

It is anticipated between three and seven concepts will be picked out from this review to take forward to use on case studies, though this may change during the course of the research if more detailed study identifies significantly more or fewer strategies as appropriate for inclusion.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

September 2023
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