16/09/2004

Security Minister pleased with cross border anti-crime co-operation

Security Minister Ian Pearson has expressed his satisfaction at the increasing levels of co-operation by law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border in tackling organised crime.

Addressing members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) at Stormont this week, Mr Pearson, who is also Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF), said Northern Ireland was continually facing a serious threat from organised crime.

"This year over 230 organised criminal gangs have been identified," the Minister said. "The discovery of this number is perhaps a clear indicator of how our intelligence and analysis techniques and processes have improved over the years. The application of the national intelligence model for the first time has also helped to clarify further the scale and scope of organised crime at all levels.

“We now know substantially more about these groups and how and where they operate.

“That, in turn, continues to feed into the partner agencies operational response and equips them to do more on the ground. The frequency of successful operations right across Northern Ireland is, we feel, a good sign of how that information is being applied. Customs for example, mount operations in some shape or form practically every working day of the year."

Mr Pearson revealed that later this month the PSNI, Customs and An Garda Siochana would unveil the first jointly developed cross border Threat Assessment which will raise the co-operation between law enforcement agencies, north and south, to a new level.

(MB/GB)

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