OPAL - National Intelligence Unit for Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime
What is Opal?
Opal is a national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime (SOAC) where there is a series of offences impacting on two or more police force areas, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Opal was established on 1 April 2019 and is based at West Mercia Police Headquarters. It falls under the leadership of DCC Amanda Blakeman, the national policing lead for acquisitive crime. So far, the unit has twelve intelligence staff, including intelligence analysts and researchers, alongside police officers, under the day-to-day lead of Supt. Neil Austin.
What does Opal do?
Our team is working with law enforcement officers, partners and industry (both nationally and internationally) to establish contacts. This work helps to link investigations where common methods or suspects are identified, and to establish and share good practice.
Our purpose is to discover and develop intelligence to support the disruption of organised crime groups that are a priority, due to their assessed levels of threat, economic/social impact and financial/material gain. This in turn will improve the UK’s knowledge and response to cross border criminality in relation to SOAC.
The team is identifying and assessing current knowledge, establishing what investigations are currently active across the country and debriefing successful law enforcement and partner activity. We are also undertaking research across the wide SOAC remit to develop our knowledge and develop our network of stakeholders.
We are working to the UK Serious and Organised Crime Strategy to ensure that our work does not repeat already valuable activity, and to identify gaps where we can add value to the delivery of the strategy.
The team is continuously learning about the scale and trends within acquisitive crime and aims to work with stakeholders to establish broad, problem-solving responses to the organised criminality that is impacting on our neighbourhoods. Acquisitive crime can have a considerable impact on victims and the team will focus on these high volume, tangible crimes to reduce the direct harm to the public.
Any information relating to SOAC will be used to identify national trends and any support requests will go through our weekly tasking process.
You can contact Opal at