SERIOUS crime is on the rise with at least 4500 organised criminal groups active in the UK and the SNP has accused the Home Office of being “clueless” over how to tackle it.

The criticism followed a Pubic Accounts Committee (PAC) report which revealed a lack of funding was putting lives at risk from criminal gangs.

MPs were critical of the Government’s ability to tackle serious and organised crime, and their report found it did not know why activities were rising.

Serious and organised crime includes human trafficking, illegal drugs and cyber-crime and is thought to kill more people every year than any other national security threat.

READ MORE: More than 180,000 serious criminals operating in the UK

Despite launching a new strategy for dealing with it in 2018, the PAC found the Government did not fully understand the threats from serious and organised crime.

Senior figures from the Home Office and police departments, who were grilled by the PAC, praised the work being done in Scotland and said the Scottish Crime Campus worked much better than the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) in England and Wales.

One witness, Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Andy Cooke said: “There are a lot of good things happening in Scotland that we should keep a very close eye on.”

PAC member, SNP MP Douglas Chapman, said: “It is extremely concerning that the UK government is failing to tackle serious and organised crime and appear clueless as to how to prevent it increasing.

“The National Crime Agency needs to be properly funded so it can protect us from some of the most violent and sophisticated criminal activity.

“I would agree with Chief Constable Cooke that we are doing good things in Scotland through our co-ordinated approach with Police Scotland. The UK government could learn some lessons from us in that respect.

“These types of crime are on the rise and as criminals become more sophisticated and can carry out crimes in other nations from their laptops, we need the NCA to operate at full capacity, but they are being put on the back foot by a Tory government that is more interested in spending £100 million on a Brexit advertising campaign than a police force that can effectively protect us all.”