Potential For Post-Brexit Spike In Organised Crime

Brexit has the potential to increase levels of smuggling and organised crime in Northern Ireland, a recent report has found.

The latest Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) annual report identified the UK's impending EU exit as an opportunity for a spike in criminal activity due to new tariff laws.

The multi agency partnership, made up of law enforcement and other relevant bodies, found that a no-deal scenario will lead to changes in criminal behaviours and the emergence of potential new criminal markets for previously legitimate commodities.

One million cigarettes, 9.2Kg of Class A drugs and 92 offensive weapons were stopped on route into Northern Ireland throughout the last year of operation.

OCTF operations have also recovered approximately £1.4million under confiscation orders; helped rescue 59 potential victims of modern slavery; recorded 7,490 drug seizure incidents; and resulted in 72 organised crime groups being frustrated, disrupted or dismantled.
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Criminal activity facilitated by technology continues to expand rapidly, and cyber related fraud is a major growth area. There continues to be a rise in scam-type frauds utilising both modern technological methods as well as those that are more traditional.

The report also provides advice and guidance to the general public about the practical steps they can take to protect themselves from organised crime and mitigate against the harm it causes to businesses and communities.

Claire Archibald, Director of Safer Communities at the Department of Justice said of the task-force: "We are sending out a clear message that organised criminals will be pursued though the courts and their assets will be stripped. These criminals offer nothing to the wider community and the Organised Crime Task Force remains determined to confront their every action, working in partnership to create a safe community where we respect the law and each other."

The OCTF includes the PSNI and 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, Security Industry Authority and Trading Standards. These agencies work together to reduce the harm caused by organised crime and provide strategic leadership for tackling the issue.


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