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Other Threats

Other threats include the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and organised crime.

Last Updated 26 February 2023

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses a potential threat to the UK's security. A number of countries continue to develop WMD programmes which give cause for concern.

WMD encompass nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The UK has obligations under a number of international treaties, conventions and export control regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

To counter the threat, MI5 engage with a wide variety of other national and international government agencies as well as with private industry and academic institutions. In addition, they seek to highlight the risks to UK manufacturers and suppliers who become unknowingly involved in supplying goods, software or training to entities working with or at the behest of regimes of concern.

Goods and equipment not normally requiring export licences can still be controlled by provisions in EC Regulations and national legislation. Less sensitive items can be made licensable if they are, or may be, for use in a WMD programme. Many of the goods of concern can be put to a civil use as well as to a military or nuclear use. These are often referred to as "dual-use" goods.

More information about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction can be found on the MI5 website.

Organised crime

Businesses may also be targeted and exploited by professional criminals, however this sits outside of NPSA's remit. The National Crime Agency (NCA) tackles serious organised crime. For more information go to the NCA website

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