Saturday 26 May 2018 08:46:16 PM

Organised Crime Task Force Keeping NI Safe
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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 3% 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 £6.9million.  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.

The OCTF Annual Report and Threat Assessment 2017 is available at:

https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/publications/octf-annual-report-and-threat-assessment-2017

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.