Police and Customs Officers congratulated

Security Minister and Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force, Jane Kennedy, has paid tribute to the police and customs on their recent success in joint operations to tackle organised crime in Northern Ireland.

Both Crown forces, in joint operations, seized four million duty free cigarettes hidden in a lorry full of Christmas decorations near Dungannon, while in Belfast, 30,000 litres of illegal fuel was intercepted.

The Security Minister said: “As a result of other operations, police seized cannabis resin with a street value of over half a million pounds – the biggest find ever in the north west.

“Also at Belfast International Airport customs seized over 200,000 cigarettes which were abandoned by passengers after a planned search of baggage.

“The police and customs have shown a real determination to tackle head on the scourge of organised criminality in Northern Ireland.

“Although there is no quick fix we continue, by co-operation between Government and these agencies, to counter the threat that organised crime poses to communities and the economy in Northern Ireland.”

The creation of the Organised Crime Task Force was announced by the then Secretary of State Peter Mandelson in September 2000.

Task force members include HM Customs & Excise, National Criminal Intelligence Service, RUC, Criminal Justice Directorate (NIO), Organised and International Crime Directorate (Home Office), Policing and Security Directorate (NIO), and other Government Agencies. (MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2003
Paramilitary involvement in crime is 'rife'
A report on organized crime in Northern Ireland has said that paramilitary involvement in local criminal groups is rife, with their activity casting a shadow over the province’s economy.
04 December 2018
SDLP Launches Disabled Members Group
The SDLP has launched a dedicated party activist group to promote the full participation of people with disabilities within Northern Ireland's society. North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon established the body to actively support "the full realisation of disabled people's rights within society".
22 May 2002
Five released on police bail after fraud swoop
Police have released five men on police bail after a major fraud swoop on premises throughout Northern Ireland yesterday. The Organised Crime task Force unit smashed a multi-million pound fraud ring centred on Northern Ireland's construction industry on Tuesday.
29 November 2018
Government 'Must Fund Extra Officers To Police Irish Border Post Brexit'
The UK Government must give police financial assurances that they will have the resources to patrol the Irish border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has said.
09 February 2005
Crime task force called on to 're-double' efforts
Secretary of State Paul Murphy has said it is essential that efforts are re-doubled in order to build on the successes of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) over the past year.
06 June 2006
Oversight Commissioner publishes 16th report
The Police Oversight Commissioner for Northern Ireland has said that the transfer of responsibility for matters of national security from the police to MI5 is a cause of concern. In his 16th report, published today, Oversight Commissioner Al Hutchinson said the move must not stop police investigating organised crime.
23 May 2002
New agency tightens grip on organised crime
New plans to clamp down on the network of organised crime in Northern Ireland have been announced today by the Secretary of State Dr John Reid.
04 July 2012
Recession Boosts Violent Loan Sharks
Illegal loan sharks have carried out physical attacks on people who owe them money in Northern Ireland. A report by the Organised Crime Task Force found that criminals are taking advantage of Northern Ireland's high levels of personal debt to target people on benefits, with drug problems, or running small businesses.
23 June 2009
Assets Recovery Praised
Some £30m of illegal drugs and other assets were seized from organised criminals in NI last year by law enforcement agencies. This is according to the Organised Crime Task Force's (OCTF) annual report which is published on Tuesday.
22 April 2009
Illegal Fuel Targeted In Border Operation
Money, vehicles and specialised 'mobile laundering plants' (similar to that pictured here following an earlier operation) have been seized in a large-scale cross-border operation targeting fuel smuggling. A substantial amount of illegal fuel, reported by the BBC today as being in excess of 175,000 litres, was recovered in the operation.
24 March 2009
NI 'Slavery' Victims' Rescue Package Launched
Comprehensive care and support services for victims of human trafficking 'rescued' in Northern Ireland will be available from the beginning of next month. "Human trafficking is modern day slavery.
01 March 2007
Warning of real cost of fake goods
Counterfeit goods valued in excess of £3 million pounds were seized in Northern Ireland during the last nine months of 2006, delegates at an anti-counterfeiting seminar in Belfast have heard.
22 September 2006
Illegal filling station dismantled in Newry
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have dismantled a filling station that was selling illegal fuel, following an operation to target the sale of illegal fuel in Northern Ireland.
02 February 2006
Small businesses in NI hit by 'extortion'
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for urgent steps to tackle the problem of organised crime in its evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster. A recent FSB survey indicated that around 6% of businesses are affected by "illegal donations." A finding that suggests up to 4,000 businesses could be affected.
11 May 2004
OCTF reveals 235 NI-based organised crime gangs
The latest figures have revealed 235 organised crime gangs are currently operating out of Northern Ireland. Security Minister, and Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF), Ian Pearson unveiled the statistics as he launched the fourth annual Threat Assessment and Strategy produced by the OCTF.