What is an Organised Crime Group (OCG)?

Written 11th June 2024 by Connor Brylczak

An Organised Crime Group (OCG) is defined under section 45(6) of the Serious Crime Act (SCA) 2015. An OCG is a group which carries out criminal activities as its purpose, or one of its purposes, and the OCG must consist of three or more people. The individuals must agree to act together to further that purpose. Section 45(7) states that it is not necessary for the individuals participating in the OCG’s criminal activities to know each other.

The types of activities carried out by OCG’s often include but are not limited to:

What criminal activity do OCGs carry out?

The criminal activities must be carried out with the intention of gaining or benefiting from them; this can be either directly or indirectly. The gain is not restricted to financial; it can include other benefits such as sexual gratification or other forms of preferential treatment.

A person could be charged with an offence of participating in the activities of an OCG if they take part in activities that they know, or suspect are part of criminal activities of an OCG or will assist the OCG in carrying out criminal activities.

In addition to carrying out activities, this also applies to people who omit to do something which subsequently allows for criminal activities to take place. An example would be an individual who fails to conduct the relevant checks, required as part of their employment duties, for the purpose of allowing criminal activities to occur.

Section 45(4) and (5) explain what can be considered a criminal activity.

Under section 45(4) an activity applies to this subsection if it occurs in England or Wales and would constitute an offence in England and Wales which is punishable on indictment of a term of 7 years imprisonment or more.

Furthermore, under section 45(5), activities can fit within this subsection if carried out outside of England and Wales, would constitute an offence in the country they are carried out in and would be an offence in England and Wales which is punishable by 7 years imprisonment or more.

It is important to note that not all of the alleged criminal activity must take place in England and Wales for charges to be brought. As long as it can be shown that at least one event occurred in England or Wales, this is enough to potentially charge an individual with participating in the activities of an OCG.

What sentencing is available for members of an OCG?

Under section 45(9), this offence is triable only on indictment and is subject to a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Defences for members of an OCG

Section 45(8) states that it is a defence for a person charged with an offence of this nature to prove that their participation was necessary for a purpose relating to the prevention or detection of crime. This often applies to undercover officers who, as part of their investigation, assist in the alleged criminal activities.

Often is the case with allegations of this nature, that the evidence is very thorough and requires a high attention to detail in order to consider all the evidence and assess the best approach to take. It is important to obtain a solicitor who specialises in these types of cases.

How can Olliers help if you are accused of being part of an OCG?

At Olliers we have a significant expertise and experience and regularly represent clients who face serious criminal allegations involving OCGs. We can discuss the circumstances which may have led to the involvement in OCGs and discuss the evidence in a succinct way to ensure the client’s full understanding. We may be able to identify any defences or significant mitigation with the intention of achieving the best outcome.

Contact our leading criminal solicitors

If you would like to discuss how we can proactively assist you in relation to your case, please contact our new enquiry team either by email to info@olliers.com, or by telephone on 020 3883 6790 (London) or 0161 834 1515 (Manchester) or by completing the form below and our new enquiry team will contact you.

Connor Brylczak

Connor Brylczak

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