To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the illegal traffic into the UK of (1) drugs, (2) firearms, and (3) people, originating in or going via the Western Balkans.
22 November 2021
Western Balkan organised crime groups are involved in the production and supply of cannabis into the UK. The Western Balkans is a major transit route for heroin shipments into Europe. Some of these shipments will be destined for the UK. The scale of Organised Immigration Crime in and through the region has reduced but remains problematic. More generally the Western Balkans is a transit route for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. The Western Balkan region is highly likely to be a key source for criminal firearms in many states across Europe. However, the UK sees very few Original Lethal Purpose firearms from the region. We are continuing to reduce the supply and availability of illegal firearms to prevent their use by criminal or terrorist groups in the UK. Alongside the threat to the UK posed by drugs, firearms and people coming from or going through the region, OCGs based in or originating from the region pose a threat through their activities in the UK or transporting illicit commodities into the UK from other parts of the world.
The Government’s response to the threat posed by these groups is set out in the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy launched in November 2018. Our approach has been to work closely with international partners, including those in the Western Balkans, to ensure we leave no safe spaces for criminals and their associates. We have mobilised a robust international response using multilateral channels, and have increased our international presence by deploying liaison officers to the region.