Police waging war on 180 crime gangs
Category: Northern Ireland
Published: 4th Jul 2012 14:11:53
There are up to 180 gangs committing a wide range of crime in Northern Ireland, say police.
The PSNI and other law enforcement agencies are devoting increasing resources to tackling the threat posed by well-organised gangs, but their activities are also on the rise.
The extent of the problem is revealed in the annual report of the Organised Crime Task Force, published by justice minister David Ford.
It reveals that the police last year seized illegal drugs valued at £13m, up from £9m the previous year.
In addition, the PSNI and customs officials seized more than 23m counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes.
Despite publicly denouncing organised criminality, dissident republican groups remain largely dependent on organised crime to fund their terrorist activities,”
The report also highlights the growing activities of gangs involved in human trafficking, with increasing numbers of people being brought to Northern Ireland and forced to work as prostitutes or as cheap labour.
During the past year, 33 potential victims of human trafficking were rescued in a series of police raids.
Seventeen were women trafficked to work in the sex industry, and one for labour exploitation.
Seven were men brought here to work as cheap labour. The eight others were all aged under 18 and were trafficked for work in the sex industry.
David Ford paid tribute to the law enforcement agencies involved.
"Behind virtually every successful raid, every successful seizure, is a law enforcement investigation, often complex and resource intensive and often involving more than one agency," he said.
"We should not lose sight of the actions taken by the various enforcement agencies, they have saved lives. They have rescued victims of human trafficking, removed illegal drugs from the streets and disrupted numerous crime gangs."
According to the police, there are currently up to 180 organised crime gangs operating in Northern Ireland.
During the past year, the PSNI says it has dismantled 23 such gangs and frustrated or disrupted the activities of a further 106.
The report says those criminal gangs include dissident republicans and loyalist paramilitaries.
"Despite publicly denouncing organised criminality, dissident republican groups remain largely dependent on organised crime to fund their terrorist activities," it said.
The range of activities they are engaged in is said to include fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling and supplying drugs. Loyalist paramilitaries are said to be involved in a similar range of crimes.
During the past year, 30 fuel laundering plants were closed down and 863,000 litres of illegal fuel with a street value of £1.3m was seized.
Assets worth a further £4.5m were also seized from criminals. Of this, £1.5 million was distributed among a variety of law enforcement agencies for investment in projects aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime.
Almost £800,000 was given to community projects across Northern Ireland for a range of activities to reduce crime and the fear of crime.
"Criminals engage in organised crime to make money," said David Ford.
"Taking the profit out of crime and stemming the flow of criminal finances is therefore an essential part of the criminal justice response to fighting crime and making our community safer."
At 05:47:55 in HeadlinesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid their respects to Australia's war dead on the final day of their tour.
At 05:42:09 in HeadlinesIn the past 10 years, 80 people aged 21 and under have killed themselves in prison - the government has set up a review to find out why so many young people die in custody. One mother explains what it is like to have a child die behind bars.
At 05:06:03 in HeadlinesA US judge has ordered a hearing to consider new evidence relating to the 1987 double-murder conviction of a British businessman in Miami.
At 04:53:55 in HeadlinesIran has cut state subsidies on petrol in a move that saw prices rise at midnight by up to 75%.
At 04:41:10 in HeadlinesUS President Barack Obama is in Seoul for a visit that comes amid concern that North Korea may be planning a fourth nuclear test.
At 04:36:51 in BusinessConsumer prices in Tokyo rose at their fastest pace in 22 years in April, surging 2.7% from a year earlier, according to preliminary data.
At 04:10:36 in BusinessEd Miliband will unveil plans to tackle the "epidemic" of zero-hours contracts in a speech in Scotland later.
At 03:47:29 in HeadlinesBolivia's military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.
At 03:35:43 in WorldWith the World Cup just six weeks away and the Olympics on the horizon, social dysfunction in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro is subject to increasing international scrutiny.
At 03:28:21 in HeadlinesUK science is to get one of the biggest, most capable polar research vessels in the world.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Police waging war on 180 crime gangs [Online] (Updated 4th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1438589/Police-waging-war-on-180-crime-gangs [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Four of the biggest technology firms - Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe - have settled a class action lawsuit alleging they conspired to hold down salaries.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Ten candidates will be vying for three European parliament seats in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.
This year is an important one for the Lamont household.
Iran has cut state subsidies on petrol in a move that saw prices rise at midnight by up to 75%.
Ed Miliband will unveil plans to tackle the "epidemic" of zero-hours contracts in a speech in Scotland later.