Organised Crime: Northern Ireland

Home Department written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell DUP, East Londonderry

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the potential effect on levels of organised crime in Northern Ireland of extending the operations of the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is committed to assisting the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to tackle serious and organised crime in Northern Ireland, as far as the restrictions on its powers permit. However, the restrictions on the NCA's operations mean that PSNI resources are used to deal with matters that would be dealt with by the NCA elsewhere in the UK, and PSNI cannot access certain specialist capabilities which are held within the NCA.

It is not too much of a stretch to conclude that the risks to Northern Ireland from organised crime groups are increased because of this, and that the response to organised crime in Northern Ireland would be more effective if the NCA had access to its full range of powers. I have offered assistance to the Minister of Justice in Northern Ireland, David Ford, in his endeavours to expand the NCA's role, under appropriate accountability arrangements tailored to Northern Ireland's structures.

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