Last year 23 Organised Crime Groups were dismantled, the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) has today confirmed in the publication of their 2016/17 Annual Report and Threat Assessment.
The findings reflects a three per cent increase in the number of Organised Crime Groups whose activities were frustrated, disrupted or fully dismantled over the previous year.
Over £1.7million of criminal assets were recovered, of which over £834,000 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 preventing crime or reducing the fear of crime.
Partnership working between the members of the OCTF remains the key weapon in tackling organised criminal groups operating in Northern Ireland.
Further highlighting the results of partnership working between the OCTF, Joint Agency Task Force and Paramilitary Crime Task Force over the reporting period there were over 5,500 drugs seizures. Also in the course of the reporting period 34 victims and potential victims of modern slavery were successfully recovered and able to avail of support and assistance.
The already high level of cross border partnership operations and cooperation continues. Collaboration by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Police Service of Northern Ireland and Irish Revenue Commissioners led to the successful disruption of a fuel smuggling operation. The revenue loss prevented (RLP) figure, had the case gone undetected, was £6.9 million. The work on this case was recognised with a Government Counter Fraud Award for ‘Outstanding Collaboration’.
Raising public awareness about the risks and impact of organised crime remains a priority for OCTF partners. For example, the “I am your money” campaign, which was launched in December 2016 and ran again from August to September 2017, highlighted how the purchase of counterfeit goods can fund criminal behaviour, such as drug dealing, and sought to challenge behaviours in this regard.
The fifteenth OCTF Annual Report and Threat Assessment also recognises emerging threats such as cyber crime and how the internet continues to be exploited by criminals across the globe.
Anyone with any suspicions about organised crime or any criminal activity should report it immediately to the PSNI or anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
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.
- 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), NI Environment Agency and Trading Standards.
- 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 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
- Justice Minister to bring domestic abuse legislation through Assembly 28 January 2020
- Naomi Long pays tribute to retiring PSNI Deputy Chief Constable 20 January 2020
- HRH The Princess Royal visits HMP Maghaberry 16 January 2020
- Northern Ireland Police Fund Chairperson and Board members recruitment competition launched 16 January 2020