Some may be disappointed with the finale of Line of Duty. The twist at the end wasn’t as thrilling as we thought it would be. Those who did watch it will have heard many acronyms used by AC-12 (anti-corruption police officers). In the real world those same acronyms are used by many law enforcement agencies. One acronym in particular, which the AC-12 loves using, is OCG.
OCG stands for organised crime group. The organised criminals Steve Arnott is tracking down could find themselves prosecuted for a number of different offences including Conspiracy offences as well as some substantive offences. It is also likely that they could face a charge brought under section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 known commonly as the ‘participating’ offence.
In this article solicitor Damian Wall explains the laws in relation to participating in organised crime groups and what a participating offence is.
What is classed as participating in an OCG?
Section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 focuses on people who are aiding organised crime groups for personal gain yet are far enough removed from them to not warrant direct suspicion by police. Accountants and solicitors are two examples of professions that could be targeted by this act.
The act requires that the offender ‘knows or reasonably suspects’ that their actions will assist an OCG and the illegal activity must warrant a minimum sentence of at least 7 years. The types of activity the act will include offences such as:
An OCG is defined by sect 45(6) as “3 or more persons who act (or agree to act) together to further the carrying on of criminal activities”.
What is the sentence for participating in an organised crime group (OCG)?
The penalties for participating in organised crime are significant. Those cases can only appear in the Crown Court and carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. Sentences will depend on the circumstances, the role played, the length of time involved etc.
There is a concern that this offence may be used in cases where it is difficult to identify an organised crime group’s operations or target . This can potentially raise a number of evidential issues which can work in favour or against the defendant.
The evidence in these cases is also, often, complex. So it is important that those accused of being involved in an organised crime group seek representation from solicitors who have experience in dealing with these types of cases.
To contact Damian or read more about him and the cases he has dealt with please see his profile.