Neil Fellingham is the coordinator for the Government Agencies Intelligence Network (GAIN) in the south east and he talks about the importance of collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies to help clamp down on rural crime.
I am the GAIN coordinator within the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit. GAIN is a multi-agency group that brings together intelligence and investigation staff from public sector enforcement and other external agencies.
By working with other agencies, we hope to solve problems by adopting a multi-agency approach and creating a mechanism to enable different regional and local government agencies to work together in a more formal relationship, exchanging information within legislative constraints, jointly participating in enforcement action, joint training and sharing resources.
Currently within GAIN there are numerous agencies including the members such as police forces, HMRC, NHS, NCA, UKBF, Trading Standards, Environment Agency, Gangmasters Licensing Authority and Security Industry Authority. There are also other agencies that are included from private businesses and non-governmental bodies as points of contact.
Our aim is really clear, we aim to ensure that all of these government agencies will lawfully and efficiently share intelligence and information to help reduce serious and organised crime, protect the environment in the most cost effective way.
There are many examples of where this has proved to be successful across the South East and one example is where a rogue trader was operating in the region and targeting vulnerable and elderly people to carry out building work. A multi-agency operation took place involving the police, Trading Standards, HMRC, local authorities, RSPCA, the fire service and VOSA. This operation resulted in those involved being charged with numerous criminal offences including fraud and money laundering and the other agencies pursuing other offences against the same people. Where they were members of trade organisations, working with GAIN these organisations removed them from their websites and stopped them using their logos and promotional paperwork.