Criminal associations

IBAC intelligence shows that organised crime groups cultivate contacts within the public sector to access information, influence decisions and manipulate systems. These groups are a threat at all levels of government, including for council workers, departmental officers and law enforcement employees.

They may want access to: 

  • databases, particularly those with personal identification information that they could use for identity theft, debt collection, witness intimidation or extortion, or that could be sold to other criminal groups
  • decision-making processes, including contracting and tendering and the regulation of particular industries
  • property and goods with high resale value or that facilitate criminal activity.

If your agency has access to information or commodities of value to organised crime groups, you could be targeted.

  • Vulnerable agencies/sectors

    The most vulnerable agencies will be those:

    • who hold a lot of identity data, particularly when systems can be accessed by many employees
    • with decision-making and regulatory powers, including those agencies overseeing the security, construction, planning, development, sex work, gaming and liquor industries
    • with access to sensitive information, including law enforcement information.

    Vulnerable employees

    Organised crime groups may try to develop relationships with public sector employees by:

    • targeting those with risk-taking behaviour such as illicit drug use or problem gambling, which can make them vulnerable to coercion or manipulation 
    • using social media to identify and target public sector employees
    • developing relationships to shift a public sector employee’s loyalty away from their employer,
    • persuading the target that ‘helping a friend’ is the right thing to do
    • creating shared interests within the broader community by interacting with public sector employees at places like fitness clubs, tattoo parlours, body building and martial arts venues, or sports clubs.
  • Measures to safeguard your organisation against organised crime:

    Security culture

    • Conduct risk assessments to address the threats presented by organised crime 
    • Establish clear security and integrity standards tailored to the types of risk faced by each public body 
    • Identify high-value information and systems and ensure appropriate protections are applied to those most likely to be targeted.

    Declarable associations

    • Introduce policies about identifying and reporting declarable associations or relationships between staff and criminal entities
    • Consider making it compulsory for employees to declare any associations they have when they’re recruited, and at regular points during their employment
    • Introduce clear consequences for staff who fail to declare an association.

    Pre-employment checks and revalidating employees

    • Pre-employment screening and vetting that reflects the levels of access and sensitivity associated with each position 
    • Revalidate employees security clearances at regular or random intervals
    • Ensure that before an employee moves to a position with increased levels of access and sensitivity, they are subject to stricter vetting and suitability processes.


    • Conduct proactive routine audits of information and financial systems to identify any inappropriate access to, or use or sharing of, information, systems or property.