The latest Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) Annual Report and Threat Assessment (Tuesday 2 October) shows a marked increase in the success of the fight against organised crime groups operating in Northern Ireland.
Compared with last year, the seizure of illegal drugs is up by almost 24% and the number of Organised Crime Groups dismantled, frustrated, or disrupted has increased by around 42%. Working together, OCTF partners also helped rescue 36 potential victims of modern slavery, and overall recovered £1.9million of criminal assets.
Launching the report, Anthony Harbinson, Department of Justice Director of Safer Communities, commended the work of the OCTF partner agencies: “The operational successes highlighted this year speak for themselves; 183 Organised Crime Groups dismantled, frustrated, or disrupted; almost 7,000 separate drugs seizures; 36 potential victims of modern slavery recovered from exploitation; and almost £2million of criminal assets recovered from convicted offenders and reinvested for the benefit of local communities.
“Significant progress is also being made in protecting individuals and businesses against cybercrime. The new purpose-built PSNI Cyber Crime Centre is just one addition which will help enhance the PSNI’s forensic and investigative capabilities.
“Ultimately, to end the harm that is caused by organised crime and paramilitarism we need a whole-societal response. I call on everyone to play their role in making Northern Ireland a safe place where we respect the law and each other by reporting crime and suspicious activity to the police.”
The Report also highlights the determination of statutory agencies and departments to respond to the risks posed by economic crime and to disrupt organised crime through the recovery of criminal assets under proceeds of crime legislation. Since the establishment of the PSNI’s Asset Confiscation and Enforcement (ACE) Team in 2017, there has been a 150% rise in the number of PSNI restraints put in place and a 50% increase in the number of PSNI Confiscation Orders granted by the Courts.
OCTF partner agencies include: Department of Justice, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Public Prosecution Service, An Garda Síochána, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, National Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, UK Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Centre (NCA), Department for Communities, NI Environment Agency and Trading Standards.
The OCTF Annual Report and Threat Assessment 2017/18 is available at OCTF Annual Reports
Notes to editors:
- The OCTF was established in 2000 and works to reduce the harm caused by organised crime, through multi agency partnership and to secure a safe community in norther Ireland, where we respect the law and each other.
- OCTF provides an essential strategic leadership forum for tackling organised crime in Northern Ireland.
- In total, over £1.9 million of criminal assets were recovered in 2017/18, of which just over £947,000 was returned directly to law enforcement agencies, Public Prosecution Service and Courts Service to enhance further recovery of criminal assets and proceeds of crime and to help protect the local community. The remainder was allocated to a wide range of initiatives aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime.
- More information about the work of the OCTF can be found at www.octf.gov.uk
- For all media queries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned
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