NI: Sugden launches Organised Crime Task Force report

Justice Minister Claire Sugden
Justice Minister Claire Sugden

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister Claire Sugden stressed the importance of partnership working across law enforcement agencies to combatting organised crime at the launch of the 2016 Organised Crime Task Force Annual Report and Threat Assessment.

During the launch in Newforge Country Club, Ms Sugden, who chairs the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF), said: “Organised crime does not operate in a vacuum. It has an adverse impact on local communities and society as a whole. It affects our economy, our public services and our living spaces.

“Criminals profit at the expense of the community through drug dealing, human trafficking, cyber crime, extortion and other forms of organised crime. The Organised Crime Task Force works to confront these criminals through strong multi-agency partnership.

“There has been significant progress throughout the year and I commend all those involved.”

According to the report, the OCTF succeeded during 2015/16 in dismantling 28 organised crime groups, seizing over £11 million of drugs, confiscating £1.6 million in criminal assets, dismantling 12 fuel laundering plants, and recovering 59 potential trafficking victims.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said: “The Organised Crime Task Force is a component part of our response to tackling organised crime across the island of Ireland and further afield.

“This year’s Annual Report recognises the contribution and significant successes of the law enforcement agencies over the past 12 months.

“Whether it is tracking illegal drugs, rescuing victims of human trafficking, seizing laundered fuel or tacking cyber-crime or dealing with high value fraud, the joined-up approach to dealing with serious criminality ensures that together, we are helping to ‘Keep People Safe.”

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