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We build the picture of crime impacting Australia by collecting and combining information to discover new areas of national focus.

Discover 1

Table showing performance criterion for Discover 1-The picture of crime impacting Australia is improving because the ACIC is discovering crime threats, vulnerabilities, patterns, methods and trends previously unknown. Result-MET


By discovering and sharing intelligence on previously unknown threats, we are contributing to national understanding so that we and our partners can better respond to crime impacting Australia and make Australia safer.

Identifying new threats

During 2019–20, our intelligence gathering and analysis led to the identification and understanding of new criminal methodologies and the discovery and disruption of previously unknown criminal threats to Australia.

For example:

  • The ACIC utilised knowledge gained from coercive hearings into insider threats within the bookmaking sector to obtain unique insights into vulnerabilities within domestic bookmakers’ processes and wider risks to the corporate bookmaking sector.
  • We identified the complicit involvement of business owners linked to a corrupt registered migration agent, providing insights to the vulnerabilities and methodologies of the agent and other, complicit migration agents.
  • An investigation was conducted into cross-border trafficking of firearms. Our analysis of intelligence indicated that the suspect and associates were involved in the theft and trafficking of firearms between Tasmania and Victoria, in conjunction with trafficking of methylamphetamine.

Efforts such as these have strengthened our relationships and collaboration with domestic and international partner agencies, enhancing the ACIC’s ability to identify and leverage strategic opportunities to create a more hostile environment for transnational serious and organised crime impacting Australia.

Identifying criminal targets

In addition to the 208 previously unknown criminal targets identified in 2019–20, 29 previously known targets with involvement in new areas of criminality were identified, as shown in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3: Criminal targets identified

 The definition for this measure was expanded in 2017–18 and equivalent data for prior periods are not comparable.

The APOT strategy is an ACIC-led initiative focused on identifying, assessing, designating and coordinating operational responses to the transnational serious and organised crime targets that pose the greatest threat to Australia’s interests. The intent of the strategy is to improve understanding and facilitate disruption, in collaboration with our domestic and international law enforcement and intelligence partners within local, regional and global contexts, to enhance community safety in Australia.

In 2019–20, we assessed a range of targets across the transnational serious and organised crime environment, resulting in the addition of six new targets to the APOT list.

Using coercive powers

We use coercive powers in special operations and special investigations to discover new information about serious and organised crime, by conducting examinations and issuing notices to produce documents or items. When it is lawful to do so, we share with partners our intelligence products containing discoveries and any understanding gained through the use of coercive powers.

We report our use of coercive powers to support accountability and transparency. However, we do not provide a performance benchmark such as data on the historical averages for examinations and notices. A benchmark for comparison could create the impression that the use of coercive powers is driven by targets, when in fact the ACIC uses the powers when it is expedient to do so. Results of this work are shown in Figure 2.4.

Figure 2.4: Notices, examinations and intelligence products derived from examinations material

This figure shows three bar graphs. Graph 1 represents ‘Notices’ for 2015–16 = 352, 2016–17 = 531, 2017–18 = 347, 2018–19 = 266, 2019–20 = 181. Graph 2 represents ‘Examinations’ for 2015–16 = 202, 2016–17 = 227, 2017–18 = 212, 2018–19 = 193, 2019–20 = 157. Graph 3 represents ‘Intelligence products derived from examination material’ for 2015–16 = 249, 2016–17 = 187, 2017–18 = 188, 2018–19 = 177, 2019–20 = 139.

Stakeholder survey results

The transformation of the ACIC to be operationally agile and move closer to the cutting edge of significant criminality affecting Australia in the past 12 months has been excellent.’—Australian Government partner, 2020 Stakeholder Survey

Table 2.1: Stakeholder survey results—Discover 1

 ACIC provides information and intelligence on changes in the crime environment (such as new crime threats, methods, trends and patterns); Proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed 2019–20 = 85% a change of +4 from 2018–19 = 81%, 2017–18 = 78%