‘Perceptions of Organised Crime Findings from the October 2017 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey’ published today.

Date published: 18 April 2018

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin 11/2018 ‘Perceptions of Organised Crime: Findings from the October 2017 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey’. This is an Official Statistics Publication.

These findings provide baseline information in relation to perceptions of Organised Crime in Northern Ireland.

Key Findings

Organised Crime and Paramilitarism

A quarter of respondents (25.4%) stated that they felt that organised crime was very widespread throughout Northern Ireland, 22.8% felt that it was widespread and 43.3% stated that it was fairly widespread. Of the remaining respondents, 7.7% thought it was not widespread and 0.8% stated that organised crime does not occur in Northern Ireland.

93.6% of respondents stated that drug dealing was one of the main types of crimes they associated with organised crime in Northern Ireland.

Overall, 56.5% strongly agreed and 34.6% agreed that the proceeds of any one form of organised crime may ultimately contribute towards other forms of organised crime.

Of all respondents asked, 86.5% stated that ‘Yes’ they believed there was a link between organised crime and ongoing paramilitary activity.

88.4% stated ‘Violence’ was a type of harm associated with organised crime.

When respondents were asked their perceptions of the impact of organised crime, personally and within the community, 54.8% stated ‘fear in the community’.

97.4% of respondents stated that the ‘PSNI’ had a role in tackling organised crime.  When asked about the role that the public can play in tackling organised crime, 78.2% stated that they can ‘report to the police’, 57.7% stated ‘contact Crimestoppers’ and 52.3% stated that they could ‘refuse to purchase counterfeit or illicit goods or services’.

57.0% stated ‘fear’ prevented people from reporting an incident or suspected incident.



Notes to editors: 

Section A of the Fresh Start Agreement (2015) sets out a number of commitments to tackle paramilitarism, criminality and organised crime, in response to which the Executive established an independent Three Person Panel to provide recommendations for the disbandment of paramilitary groups. The Executive published its action plan on tackling paramilitary activity, criminality and organised crime in July 2016.

The Department of Justice is leading on the implementation and co-ordination of the Executive action plan. Included within this is a commitment to develop a public awareness campaign, entitled ‘End the Harm’, which was launched on December 5th 2016. The aim of this campaign is:

To highlight the harm caused by organised crime and paramilitarism;

To raise awareness of types of organised crime and its links to paramilitarism (where applicable);

To engage the public in their own role in tackling organised crime and promote a sense of personal responsibility to feed into support for the police and justice agencies and promote a “culture of lawfulness”

In order to assess the impact of this programme of work, and the campaign, public attitudes towards such behaviours were gathered via the October 2016 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey.  Responses to this survey were collected prior to the campaign launch and act as a baseline for comparison.  The ongoing political situation in Northern Ireland has impacted on delivery of the campaign, which was paused earlier than intended in January 2017 after a two month run; the campaign was re-run from August to September 2017.   The survey was run again in October 2017 in an attempt to assess if and how attitudes have changed. This bulletin presents the findings of this survey.

The information presented in this bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken in October and November 2017, which involved 938 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews.  This represents an eligible response rate of 50.2%. 

Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

The bulletin will be available in PDF format from via this web-site or by contacting or Analytical Services Group, Department of Justice,1st Floor, Laganside House, 23-27 Oxford Street, Belfast, BT1 3LA (Telephone: 028 90724538; Email: statistics.research@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk).

Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DOJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444.

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