Transnational Organised Crime

Building a more effective, whole-of-society approach to transnational organised crime through rigorous, independent and policy-oriented research


Transnational organised crime (TOC) is increasingly recognised as presenting a systemic threat to communities, states and the environment across the globe. Sophisticated and adaptable organised crime groups and networks exploit rapid technological change, conflict, political instability, poverty and even public health crises in order to source, transport and sell illicit goods and services across borders.

In most contexts, the harms caused or exacerbated by TOC are borne overwhelmingly by the poorest communities and most vulnerable individuals, in particular through the violence associated with drug trafficking and the exploitation wrought by human trafficking and modern slavery.

The pernicious effects of TOC are also manifest at a societal level, in terms of damage to the economy through cybercrime, fraud and money laundering, as well as the erosion of public confidence in the rule of law and institutions through corruption.


The Azure Forum helps to address these challenges by providing independent, evidence-based and solutions-oriented research on different aspects of transnational organised crime.

Our analysis is particularly focussed on identifying:

  • Emerging and future trends in transnational organised crime, whether at national, regional or global scale
  • Cross-cutting enablers that facilitate various forms of serious criminality
  • The interdependencies between illicit markets and wider political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legislative factors
  • Linkages with other key threats to national and global peace and security
  • Integrated strategic, institutional and policy responses

Our approach is collaborative and interdisciplinary. We strive to incorporate diverse insights from partners across academia, civil society, community groups, government, the judicial system, law enforcement, private industry and beyond.

Cumulatively, our work aims to build an effective whole-of-society approach to the complex and interconnected challenges posed by transnational organised crime.

Alex Chance
Dr. Alexander Chance

Senior Research Fellow

Mark Williams Headshot-modified (2)
Mark Williams

Research Fellow


The Azure Forum is currently looking to build a network of associate experts and partners from across different sectors and fields in order to collaborate on projects around different aspects of TOC, whether from Irish, UK/Irish, European or global perspectives. If you or your organisation are interested in becoming part of this network, or simply want to discuss possible opportunities for joint working, please contact the Senior Fellow responsible for the TOC research area, Alexander Chance, at:

Our Research Outputs

Exploring Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a Shared Understanding of a Shared Threat | Alexander Chance | 30 March 2022

Policy Report

The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy, with the support of the British Embassy Dublin, has published a new report on Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK. “Exploring Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a Shared Understanding of a Shared Threat” provides a strategic-level, qualitative assessment Read more…

Exploring serious and organised crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a shared understanding of a shared threat | 30 March 2022

Report Launch

The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy, with the support of the British Embassy Dublin, launched a new report: “Exploring Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a Shared Understanding of a Shared Threat” on Wednesday 30 March 2022. At the event, report author, Senior Fellow Dr Alexander Chance, discussed the report’s findings with experts Paul Thornton, Western Europe SOCnet at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Detective Chief Superintendent Angela Willis, Head of Bureau, Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Read more…

Treat ransomware as criminality | Paddy McGuinness | 16 February 2022

Strategic Insight 

Paddy McGuinness lays out four recommendations to combat ransomware attacks. First, treat ransomware as criminality and address it separately from the conflicted and glacial diplomacy to address state cyber action. Read more…

Deterring Ransomware attacks as an international security priority | 30 September 2021


Our September roundtable placed emphasis on the need for an internationally coordinated strategy to deter ransomware attacks, especially where continued cyber diplomacy is essential to protect national interests, mitigate risks, and enhance the security of Internet users. Read more…

Corruption, organised crime and conflict in Mozambique: exploring the role of international donors | Alexander Chance | 17 February 2021

Strategic Insight 

Alexander Chance explores the multilevel dynamics of the ongoing Islamist insurgency in Mozambique, arguing that international donors need to step up and tackle the root causes of the conflict. Read more…

Securing the common travel area in 2021 | Edward Burke | 2 October 2020

Strategic insight 

Edward Burke examines opportunities for Irish-British bilateral security cooperation in the Common Travel Area. Read more…