Supplementary memorandum submitted by
The Northern Ireland Office
1. On 24 September, the Northern Ireland
Office (NIO) submitted to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
a memorandum on "its work investigating the financing of
terrorism and its actions to seek to counteract this". This
supplementary memorandum is in response to a request by the Committee,
of 7 January, for additional information.
2. Answers to the specific questions raised
are set out below. However, before turning to these, the NIO would
like to clarify two issues further.
3. The OCTF does not have operational responsibilities.
It brings together the operational agencies in Northern Ireland
and senior NIO officials under the chairmanship of Jane Kennedy,
Security Minister. The OCTF enables the agencies to discuss and
agree areas for priority action through a concerted multi-agency
approach. The Task Force is therefore strategic in nature. While
it receives an update on operational activity at each of its meetings,
it does not direct it: that remains the preserve of the individual
agencies represented on the OCTF.
4. For this, its first year, the OCTF agreed
a set of strategic priorities, concentrating on the commodities
and types of criminal enterprise which are having the most adverse
impact on Northern Ireland society. The activity report to each
Task Force meeting is designed to enable the members to assess
in-year progress against those targets. It also enables the Task
Force to monitor any new or emerging organised crime trends which
require a strategic response.
5. The Task Force was established to tackle
organised crime across the board. Not all aspects of organised
crime in Northern Ireland are linked to the paramilitary organisations,
although some clearly is. The principle behind the OCTF is to
attack the criminal element of organised crime, whatever its source.
Through this route, both the classic organised crime organisations
and those linked with paramilitary groups will be affected by
good operational success.
6. For this reason a direct comparison with
the resources dedicated to the Terrorist Finance Unit could be
misleading. First, the OCTF is strategic, while the TFU was operational
in nature. Second, the OCTF approach of tackling criminality across
the board is markedly different from that adopted by the TFU.
The Government believes that the best way of judging the new approach
is by the results it achieves, rather than by the resources directly
dedicated to the Task Force.
7. Significant operational successes have
indeed been achieved. This reflects not only on the individual
agencies concerned, but also on the multi-agency approach the
Task Force is fostering. It reflects also on the new structural
changes put in place, notably by the PSNI and Customs, which facilitate
the provision of mutual support.
8. The Government is tackling the problem
of terrorist funding in other ways too. Specific legislation,
contained in the Terrorism Act 2000 and strengthened by the Anti-Terrorism
Crime and Security Act 2001, existing confiscation legislation
and the new Proceeds of Crime Bill all play a significant role
in the Government's strategy.
9. The remainder of this memorandum sets
out answers to the questions raised in the Committee's letter
of 7 January which fall within NIO's responsibility.
What human resources (measured in terms of full-time
personnel) and financial resources are available to the Organised
Crime Task Force, in the Northern Ireland Office?
The Organised Crime Task Force is chaired by
the Security Minister, Jane Kennedy. The Task Force meets approximately
every other month. Between meetings, Ms Kennedy makes a series
of visits and regularly undertakes media work on the role of the
OCTF. For example, in December, Ms Kennedy undertook a walk-about
in Belfast City Centre with Sir Reg Empey to promote jointly the
message that consumers should not purchase counterfeit goods.
Senior officials from the Policing and Security
Directorate, Criminal Justice Directorate and Information Services
sit on the Task Force (Director Policing and Security, Associate
Director Policing and Security, and Head of Security Policy and
Operations Division; Director Criminal Justice Directorate and
Head of Criminal Justice Policy Directorate; and Acting Deputy
Director of Communications). The Task Force is serviced by a small
secretariat from the Security Policy and Operations Division.
In addition to attendance at Task Force meetings,
the Director Policing and Security chairs the Task Force's public
sector sub group. This meets between each Task Force meeting to
liaise with the devolved administration. The Director also chairs
the strategy sub group which among other things drafts for the
Task Force's approval the annual strategy to counter the threat
to Northern Ireland society from organised crime. The Associate
Director chairs the Task Force's co-ordination sub group which
also meets between each Task Force meeting. This sub group works
with the agencies to strengthen further the agencies' co-operation
and co-ordination arrangements, and to develop performance measures.
The Head of the Security Policy and Operations Division chairs
the legal sub group which meets regularly. This group keeps the
agencies up to date on legislative developments and considers
legislative issues arising from the work of the agencies. The
Acting Deputy Director of Communications chairs a publicity sub
group which promotes the Task Force's key message that everyone
has a role to play in tackling organised crime, and it works with
the agencies to help promote operational success. Other members
of the Department attend in support of these sub group meetings.
The Department also attends the analysis and assessment sub group
chaired by the PSNI, which concentrates on further improvements
to the flow of intelligence between the agencies.
Although precise time inputs are not available,
all this represents a significant commitment by the Security Minister
and senior officials.
On the Secretariat side, one Grade A (Grade
7 equivalent) and one BI (SEO equivalent) are heavily engaged
on a daily basis on Task Force activity, which accounts for the
bulk of their work (the remainder of the work of these posts covers
linked issues, such as counter terrorism law). Other resources
are available within the Division as needed. Within the Communications
Directorate, one Information Officer is dedicated to Task Force
issues, reactive and proactive.
Policy input into the Proceeds of Crime Bill
is relevant to the Task Force's remit but is taken forward outside
How many OCTF 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?
As noted above, the Task Force approach does
not distinguish between ordinary and terrorist organised crime.
The principle is to foster a multi-agency approach to tackling
all types of organised crime and the Task Force has concentrated
this year on the commodity areas which have the most adverse impact
on Northern Ireland society.
The Task Force resources are, for the main part,
staff costs. The costs of publicising the threat assessment and
strategy for year 1 were met within NIO resources.
How does the answer to (the above) compare to
the allocation to the anti-racketeering response when the NIO
Terrorist Finance Unit (and the RUC C1/3 squad) were in existence
As explained above, a direct comparison between
the OCTF and TFU would not take account of their very different
functions. For information, the TFU had 25 staff in 1996.
How many personnel have been provisionally allocated
to work in the Northern Ireland division of the Assets Recovery
In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Bill
the Home Office is the responsible department for the resourcing
and funding of ARA including its physical presence in Northern
Ireland. The Bill requires the appointment of a senior officer
of the agency (possibly to be known as an assistant director)
to be responsible for its functions in Northern Ireland, and the
Government has made clear that the agency will have a branch here.
Details of the staff to be located in Northern Ireland and associated
logistical and resource issues are still being considered.
How many staff of the staff will be employed
Details of the staff to be located in Northern
Ireland are still being considered.
15 January 2002