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The establishment in April 1998 of the National Crime Squad and its focus on those whom the National Criminal Intelligence Service have identified as the ‘top echelon’of criminals, has improved the police service's ability to address organised crime at the national and international level. This article draws on two studies carried out within the police service, one examining travelling criminals and the other gang violence, which illustrate the extent to which organised crime manifests itself at levels lower than these. This lower level organised crime is both more visible and of more immediate concern to chief officers than higher levels. Failure to take account of this lower level has implications for both academics, the police and policy makers.