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“Illegal Rural Enterprise – Developing a framework to help identify and investigate shadow infrastructures and illicit criminal networks.”

Smith, Robert and McElwee, Gerard ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6905-4443 (2024) “Illegal Rural Enterprise – Developing a framework to help identify and investigate shadow infrastructures and illicit criminal networks.”. Policing: An International Journal.

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Purpose: This study builds on the extant research of the authors on Illegal Rural Enterprise [IRE]. However, instead of taking a single or micro case approach within specific sections of the farming and food industries we examine the concept holistically from a macro case perspective. Many IRE crimes simply could not be committed without insider knowledge and complicity, making it essential to appreciate this when researching or investigating such crimes.

Design/methodology/approach: Using data from published studies, we introduce the theoretical concept of ‘Shadow infrastructure’ to analyse and explain the prevalence and
endurance of such criminal enterprises. Using a multiple case approach, we examine data across the cases to provide an analysis of several industry wide crimes - the illicit halal meat trade; the theft of sheep; the theft of tractors and plant; and the supply of illicit veterinary medicines.

Findings: We examine IRE crimes across various sectors to identify commonalities in practice and in relation to business models drawing from a multidisciplinary literature
spanning business and criminology. Such enterprises can be are inter-linked. We also provide suggestions on investigating such structures.

Academic and practical implications: We identify academic and practical implications in relation to the investigation of IRE crime and from an academic perspective in relation to
researching the phenomenon.

Social and policy implications: Include setting up a multi-agency intelligence hub to provide expert knowledge to the numerous agencies involved in investigating such crime.
What is the value of paper: Combining data from numerous individual studies from a macro perspective to provide practical solutions to a multi-faceted problem.

Key Words: Criminal Entrepreneurship, Illegal Rural Enterprise, Illicit Trade, Rural Policing, Shadow Infrastructures.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-10-2023-0132
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/9166

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