The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Board determines our work priorities, which are called Determinations.
Where traditional law enforcement methods are unlikely to be or have not been effective, the board may also approve the use of our agency's coercive powers under these determinations, by naming them special operations or special investigations.
Special operations focus on gathering intelligence on a particular criminal activity, so informed decisions can be made about the extent, impact and threat of that criminal activity. Coercive powers may be applied to special operations.
Our High Risk and Emerging Drugs No. 4 Special Operation looks at a range of drug markets in Australia and is focused on gathering intelligence around particular criminal activity so decisions are informed by the extent, impact and threat of that activity.
The operation recognises the importance of good intelligence when responding to illicit drug markets and identifying new drug-related threats to the community. Given the increased complexity and inter-related nature of illicit drugs, this special operation monitors all Australian illicit drug markets.
Through this work we develop a comprehensive understanding of all illicit drug markets, both domestically and internationally. We achieve this by leveraging our agency’s unique mix of powers, knowledge and capabilities to better understand the markets, and by informing our partners of new and emerging trends.
This special operation also proactively develops and informs appropriate operational, legal and policy responses.
Through our National Security Impacts from Serious and Organised Crime Special Operation we work with our partners to examine and identify potential or actual convergences between serious and organised crime and other national security matters.
It is focused on gathering intelligence around particular criminal activity, such as people smuggling, terrorism and serious and organised crime penetration at the border, so decisions are informed by the extent, impact and threat of that activity.
By examining these convergences, this special operation provides a unique perspective of the evolving threats and risks posed by serious and organised crime groups within the national security environment.
The Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (OMCG) Special Operation brings together all Australian law enforcement, as well as government agencies to disrupt, dismantle or neutralise OMCGs nationally.
Through this special operation we work in partnership with key stakeholders to:
- support target development and investigations by law enforcement agencies into OMCGs
- reduce the threat posed by OMCGs
- work with law enforcement, government and industry partners to build an awareness of threats and vulnerabilities and contribute to appropriate legislative and policy responses.
The use of our agency’s coercive powers has been effective in collecting information and intelligence to examine structures and links fundamental to organised criminal activity. This has helped identify and take action against a range of OMCG criminal enterprises, which have proved highly resilient to traditional law enforcement methods.
OMCGs continue to pose a significant threat to the Australian community. To reduce that threat, we need focused and innovative strategies to complement traditional police methods of investigations. In particular, the ongoing appropriate use of our agency’s powers provides a mechanism for law enforcement agencies to optimise disruption of OMCGs posing the highest risk to the Australian community.
The aim of our Emerging Organised Crime Threats Special Operation is to identify, investigate and disrupt serious and organised criminal threats impacting against Australia’s society, institutions, markets, sectors and economy.
This special operation also delivers intelligence to support an enhanced understanding of the enablers and methodologies used by organised criminal entities to undertake serious and organised criminal activity. This includes the wider networks and professional facilitators who provide vital expertise and support to organised crime groups.
We achieve our aim for this special operation by:
- collaborating with partner agencies to identify and analyse professional facilitators that are providing expertise in support of organised crime groups
- collaborating with partner agencies, through existing policy and engagement mechanisms, and with professional industry bodies to develop prevention and mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of organised crime on the Australian community
- using our agency’s coercive powers to proactively target the criminal enabling networks and methodologies of organised crime groups and identify emerging threats and issues, and developing intelligence to inform operational targeting opportunities and contribute to prevention, mitigation, policy and law enforcement decision making.
Visa and migration fraud activity poses a significant threat to Australia’s visa and migration system and to Australia’s national interests more broadly. A prominent feature in visa and migration fraud is the increasing involvement of serious organised crime groups who seek to exploit the Australian visa and migration system to facilitate criminal activities onshore.
Our Criminal Exploitation of Australia’s Migration System Special Operation aims to identify, investigate and disrupt serious organised crime involvement in visa and migration fraud.
This special operation also delivers intelligence to support an enhanced understanding of vulnerabilities within the migration system and its impact on Australia, and to establish what legislative, regulatory or other vulnerabilities are being exploited or circumvented, and reinforce them to prevent ongoing exploitation.
We achieve our aim for this special operation by:
- enhancing the strategic intelligence picture, detailing the nature and extent of the threat of visa and migration fraud
- identifying systematic vulnerabilities being exploited by serious and organised crime groups engaged in visa and migration fraud, to harden policy/operational settings and strengthen existing regulatory frameworks
- developing a detailed understanding of the extent, profitability and drivers of visa and migration fraud and identify the sectors where it occurs and the types of crime it enables
- identifying highest risk criminal networks engaging in visa and migration fraud to inform intelligence collection and operational activity
- coordinating and cooperating with partner agencies to disrupt high level criminal networks engaging in visa and migration fraud by facilitating target development activities and investigations
- applying our agency’s coercive powers to identify new targets.
Cyber-related offences present a significant threat to Australians. This covers a wide variety of offences, including identity crime, computer hacking, phishing, botnets, computer-facilitated crime, and cyber intrusion directed at private and national infrastructure.
Our Cyber-Related Offending Special Operation collects and analyses information and intelligence to identify, investigate, disrupt or prevent cyber-related criminal activity.
Cyber-related offending activity is resilient to traditional law enforcement investigations and requires a collaborative approach with our partners. This approach includes:
- developing comprehensive intelligence about the nature and extent of serious and organised crime activity
- preventing, disrupting, disabling and dismantling serious and organised crime enterprises, through enforcement, regulation, policy and other actions
- enhancing collaboration with international and private sector bodies
- using our agency’s coercive powers to facilitate collection of information and intelligence about serious and organised crime, not available through other information collection methods.
The Cyber-Related Offending Special Operation was approved by the ACIC Board in June 2017.
The Firearm Trafficking No. 2 Special Operation was approved by the ACIC Board in June 2018 and has the following objectives:
- identify entities involved in firearm trafficking activity, and the nature and scope of their involvement
- identify new, emerging and evolving threats posed to and enablers of firearms markets
- maintain a contemporary understanding of organised crimes’ adaptation, uptake and exploitation of firearms markets
- develop an enhanced understanding of the firearms market and sector vulnerabilities to organised criminal infiltration and exploitation
- reduce the ability for SOC entities to acquire firearms and thereby reduce the threat posed by entities involved in such activity
- collaborate with partners to prevent or disrupt the activities of serious and organised crime groups across Australia
- develop intelligence which can inform detection, prevention and mitigation strategies and contribute to national policy, regulatory and law enforcement decision-making that will make Australia more resistant to serious and organised crime.
The use and possession of illicit firearms is a significant element of serious and organised crime activity in Australia. Traffickers supply illicit firearms to organised crime networks, either by illegally obtaining them from the licit market or by facilitating their illegal manufacture.
The Firearm Trafficking Special Operation sees the ACIC working collaboratively with partners to:
- develop more comprehensive intelligence about the nature and extent of serious and organised crime activity
- prevent, disrupt, disable and dismantle serious and organised criminal enterprises through enforcement, regulation, policy and other actions
- enhance collaboration with international and private sector bodies
- use the coercive powers of the ACIC to facilitate the collection of information and intelligence about serious and organised crime activity not available through other information collection methods.
Special investigations are designed not only to collect intelligence but also to disrupt and deter identified criminal groups through collecting evidence of criminal activity that may result in arrests and/or seizures of illegally obtained assets. Coercive powers, as well as a full range of traditional investigative methods, including telephone interception, surveillance devices and controlled operations legislation, can be applied to special investigations.
The highest risk serious organised crime entities continue to exert significant influence over Australia’s illicit commodity markets and are present in all Australian states and territories. The majority of these groups are operating in two or more jurisdictions and/or transnationally and have established a presence within legitimate sectors to facilitate their criminal activities.
Our Highest Risk Criminal Targets No. 3 Special Investigation is designed to:
- maximise impact against, and disruption of, the targeted serious and organised crime entities that represent the greatest risk and threat nationally
- build on the collective national expertise and knowledge of serious and organised crime in Australia to monitor changes in the serious and organised crime environment and movement within the criminal markets.
The main approach of this special investigation is to work closely with domestic and international partners to extend our agency’s unique capabilities, reducing the impact of serious and organised crime on Australia.
Work under the Highest Risk Criminal Targets No. 2 Special Investigation spans several serious and organised crime topics, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, firearms, money laundering and illicit drug activities.
In particular, highest risk criminal groups based overseas see Australia as an attractive market for illicit drugs. This is due to the potential high return on investment, as well as the relative safety of coordinating illicit drug trafficking remotely. These groups operate in partnership with domestic groups who provide specialist facilitators capable of smuggling illicit drugs through border controls, as well as access to money launderers who repatriate the transnational group’s profit share.
The ongoing risk presented by the highest risk criminal groups underscores the importance of a nationally coordinated intelligence and investigative response.
Work under the Highest Risk Criminal Targets No. 3 Special Investigation has spanned several serious and organised crime topics, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, firearms, money laundering and illicit drug activities.
The Targeting Criminal Wealth No. 3 Special Investigation into financially motivated crime is designed to disrupt and deter criminal groups by collecting evidence and intelligence about criminal activity.
Almost all organised crime is motivated by profit. Providing intelligence to identify and stop criminal money flows is one of the most effective ways to disrupt the activities of serious and organised crime networks and reduce the harm they cause. This broad special investigation into financially motivated crime brings together our work investigating money laundering, serious and organised superannuation and investment fraud, sophisticated tax evasion and confiscating criminal wealth. Through the Targeting Criminal Wealth No. 3 Special Investigation, we work with our partners to:
- deliver financial intelligence that identifies high value targets and provides new opportunities for law enforcement and regulatory partners
- build national knowledge of money laundering, nationally significant tax fraud and other financially motivated crimes
- help make Australia unattractive for abusive financial arrangements and money laundering
- reduce the impact of serious financial crime on the Australian community
- produce intelligence that contributes to whole-of-government policies and law enforcement decision-making.
The work of the Special Investigation incorporates the work of multi-agency national task forces, including the:
- Commonwealth Criminal Assets Confiscation Task Force
- Commonwealth Serious Financial Crime Task Force.