Tools to tackle organised crime

Research Initiative on Organised Crime (RIOC) is an independent think tank, conducting policy-oriented research on organised crime (OC) and developing tools for disrupting organised crime groups (OCGs) and networks. It was established in 2019.

RIOC founders Paulius Klikunas and Tanja Tamminen in close cooperation with Sergii Rybchenko and Ievgen Vorobiov wrote The CSDP Handbook on Advisory Support to Tackling Organised Crime published by CMC Finland. The book is meant to support Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission members in their everyday challenges when monitoring, mentoring and advising local counterparts. The authors designed the handbook particularly to assist advisers supporting host-country authorities to develop strategies, structures and tools to better tackle organised crime and disrupt organised crime groups.

RIOC also provides input to the work of the European training institutions preparing training requirement assessments for CSDP Missions. RIOC has participated in the meetings organised by the Civilian Conduct and Planning Capability (CPCC) during 2020 and works in close cooperation with the Guardia Civil University Centre, Madrid, to prepare training needs in the field of organised crime. GCUC will finalize the Training Needs Assessment in September 2020.

In-Mission Training to be funded by CMC Finland and conducted by RIOC members Klikunas and Tamminen was planned for Kosovo in 2020, but plans have been put on-hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disrupting the shadows

The vision of RIOC is to become an internationally recognised expert hub, which contributes significantly to research on OC, strengthens public awareness of threats and risks of OC and participates in joint international efforts to enhance capabilities in fighting OC.

Calculations indicate that the annual proceeds of organised crime amount to EUR 110 billion in the European Union. Only a few per cent of this is seized. The groups are often highly organised and international, and they tend to focus on several types of crime. Their goal is to generate as much financial gain as possible at whatever price, and by using the structures of society.

Jari Liukku, Head of European Serious Organised Crime Centre at Europol (

RIOC supports academic research done on organised crime and is interested in participating in international research consortia on related matters. RIOC also encourages Master students to write their thesis on OC related subjects. RIOC member Jussi Laatikainen is writing his Master’s thesis in Tampere University SAFER program on how organised crime impacts on EU’s civilian crisis management missions. While Essi Korhonen prepares her Master’s thesis in Madrid focusing on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the work against transnational organized crime in the Asia-Pacific.

RIOC’s multidimensional approach to tackling OC includes engaging in awareness raising and educational activities from an early onset. RIOC participates in the Pirkanmaa Security Cluster activities and has suggested a pilot day of the Civic Games to be organised in Tampere. The objectives is to encourage and test the sense of responsibility (civic duty) of the participants in different threatening situations. The plans have had to be postponed due to the the covid-19 pandemic. With the OSCE RIOC is exploring informal cooperation mechanisms that could gather non-traditional stakeholders from the civil society and the academia to discuss impact of organized crime on various social aspects.

Fighting corruption together

RIOC participates in the ‘Say no to corruption’ campaign promoting openness, transparency and justice in society. The campaign, coordinated by the Finnish Ministry of Justice, aims to raise awareness of corruption and anti-corruption work. RIOC is committed to combat corruption in its work.

During 2019-2020, President of the RIOC Board, Tanja Tamminen, and Vice-President, Noora Välimäki, worked in a Finnish Government funded project preparing corruption monitoring indicators for Finland (KORSI). The project aimed to identify and develop quantitative and qualitative indicators of corruption suited to Finland as a basis for regular monitoring. The project consortium was led by the Police University College.

In Finland, corruption often appears in the form of conflicts of interests, favouritism and unethical preparation of decisions. Most of corruption is hidden in the structures of society and goes undetected. That is why the statistics of the police or courts do not provide a comprehensive picture of the actual corruption situation in Finland.

In November 2020 the final reports were published in Finnish on the website of Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities. Such publications, coordinated by the Government (in this case Ministry of Justice), aim at generating “information that supports decision making, working practices and management by knowledge”. Tanja Tamminen proposes in the 2nd report entitled “Methods for comprehensive corruption monitoring” a number of new ways for Finland to assess the corruption situation. Noora Välimäki  focuses on corruption surveys with Vesa Muttilainen in an article to be found in the 3rd report. 1st report is an overview of all the recommendations of the research project and was also translated in English.

The aim of the KORSI-project was to identify and develop quantitative and qualitative indicators of corruption suited to Finland as a basis for regular monitoring. In Finland both the anti-corruption strategy and action plan are currently being prepared. Tamminen encourages in her report to create a comprehensive situational picture of corruption in Finland based on corruption threat and risk assessments as well as on a regular assessment process of the implementation of anti-corruption measures. Tamminen also brings up a number of innovative tools how corruption that is difficult to detect could be revealed. In her report, she suggests that the Finnish authorities would start preparing risk assessments in different sectors, as this is not currently the case. She also recommends a comprehensive approach that would regularly collect information from different sectors in the society. The sectors of the administration function too often in silos and the smooth inter-agency exchange of information is hindered. The inter-linkages between thematic such as money laundering, organised crime, informal economy and issues related to open government should be considered when preparing anti-corruption measures. Corruption is linked with all the mentioned phenomena and requires an integrated approach. Tamminen advocates for regular corruption assessments and follow up reports.

The President of the Board of RIOC is also currently the Vice-President of Transprency International Finland. RIOC is in close talks with Transparency International Finland to collaborate in oncoming projects. The former Vice-President of RIOC is acting as an anti-corruption specialist for the UN. RIOC Research Coordinator has earlier served as the deputy head of an anti-corruption unit in the Lithuanian police and is currently the Senior Financial Crimes Advisor at the EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine.