Supplementary Memorandum submitted by
The Police Service Northern Ireland
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS FROM THE COMMITTEE
(a) What human (measured in terms of full-time
personnel) and financial resources are available to the Organised
Crime Task Force, through the Police Service Northern Ireland?
The OCTF does not have direct responsibility
for operational resources. It brings together senior representatives
of law enforcement and other agencies in Northern Ireland to agree
strategic priorities for a multi-agency approach to tackling serious
and organised crime. PSNI is represented at OCTF by Assistant
Chief Constable, Crime Department, and Detective Superintendent,
Organised Crime Co-ordination Unit.
PSNI is also represented on a number of OCTF
sub groups: Detective Superintendent and Inspector, Organised
Crime Co-ordination Unit sit on the Co-ordination Sub Group; Detective
Superintendent Economic Crime Bureau sits on the Legal Sub Group;
Chief Superintendent, Deputy Chief Information Officer sits on
the Publicity Sub Group; Detective Superintendent and Inspector,
Organised Crime Co-ordination Unit, Director and Assistant Director,
Analytical Services sit on the Analysis and Assessment Sub Group.
The PSNI is a full and active partner in OCTF
and takes the lead on a number of key areas, including the 2001-02
strategic priority areas of drugs, extortion and money laundering.
Within PSNI, work against organised crime targets is carried out
at headquarters, regional and local levels. PSNI have a Detective
Superintendent and an Inspector working full time to co-ordinate
the PSNI response both internally and with other agencies. In
addition, a team of analysts and support staff work exclusively
on organised crime, both in support of operational activity and
to provide strategic assessments for the OCTF.
(b) How many PSNI staff are wholly or mainly
engaged in work against terrorist organised crime, and how does
this compare to human resources allocated to tackling "ordinary"
organised crime in Northern Ireland?
Under the auspices of the Organised Crime Task
Force, the work against organised crime involves a multi-agency
approach tackling specific areas of criminality, regardless of
paramilitary affiliations. It should also be borne in mind that
the main motivating factor for involvement in organised crime
is usually the generation of substantial profits or gain. Organised
crime cuts across organisational boundaries and it is often the
case that paramilitary-backed groups will work with non-paramilitary
groups as well as with paramilitary groups from the opposite side
of the community in order to maximise financial gain. It is not
possible, therefore, to disaggregate work against paramilitary
and non-paramilitary organised crime groups.
Examples of manpower deployed on multi-agency
operations against organised crime include:
05/12/01: operation against fuel
smuggling and money laundering (32 planned searches led to the
arrest of 10 individuals, nine of whom were charged with money
laundering and excise evasion offences) involved 554 personnel
of which: 248 PSNI officers, 156 military personnel, 150 HMC&E.
08/11/01: largest ever United
Kingdom seizure of smuggled cigarettes (42 million cigarettes
worth £9 million) involved nearly 100 personnel of which:
68 PSNI officers, 30 HMC&E
28/10/01: raid of Nutts Corner
market recovered £80,000 worth of counterfeit clothing involved
38 PSNI personnel.
(c) How does the answer to (b) above compare
to the allocation of resources to the anti-racketeering response
when the NIO Terrorist Finance Unit and the RUC C1/3 squad were
in existence in 1996?
Meaningful comparison cannot be made in this
context, as the role of the TFU, C1(3) and the resources currently
available to tackle organised crime are fundamentally different.
The TFU and C1(3)'s focus was operational whereas OCTF is strategic
in nature. Since 1996, the nature of policing in Northern Ireland
has changed, with the emphasis gradually shifting towards organised
and volume crime. The structure of PSNI has been adapted to allow
for this change. The introduction of new legislation such as the
Proceeds of Crime (Northern Ireland) Act in 1996 and the Terrorism
Act in 2000 has also allowed law enforcement and other agencies
new measures to tackle criminality.
(d) How many of the 78 organised crime groups
identified in the OCTF threat assessment have been the subject
of active financial investigation in the past 12 months? When
did each investigation start and how many officers have been engaged
in each investigation over the past 12 months (measured in terms
of full-time personnel or working days per case)?
As stated in (b) above, organised crime is dealt
with using a multi-agency approach which targets areas of criminality.
Within each area, groups have been prioritised and financial disclosures
are closely monitored to identify any irregular activity involving
the groups or crime types. All organised crime investigations
will involve examining the finances of a group or individuals.
The Proceeds of Crime Order was enacted in 1996.
The first prosecutions did not follow for 18 months to two years
although restraint orders were applied for during that time. In
general, courts shall make a confiscation order in respect of
realisable assets and issue a certificate of realisation. For
the remainder confiscation orders are made in the six months after
conviction and may have a period of up to three years to enforce.
The Courts Service is responsible for enforcing orders and, to
date, very few confiscation orders have expired. The Assets Recovery
Agency will have responsibility to enforce collection.
The PSNI C1(6) Economic Crime Bureau deals with
all suspicious financial transaction reports which relate to Northern
Ireland and provides financial profiles on suspects which have
been requested by Senior Investigating Officers. It is currently
handling a number of investigations.
(e) How many restraint orders have been made
in each of the years:
(f) How much has been ordered to be confiscated
in each of the periods cited in (e) above?
(iv) 2001 (to 31/12): £318,771
(g) How much of the amounts ordered to be
confiscated has been recovered in each of the periods cited in
The police have no role in the enforcement of