Organised Crime Must be Stamped Out says Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 24 June 2010

Reference: PAC 15/09/10

National and international organised crime is affecting Northern Ireland and tackling it requires co-operation across Government departments, agencies and borders. These are some of the key findings from the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee’s report, Combating Organised Crime, which was published today.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Paul Maskey MLA, Chairperson of the Committee, said: “Organised crime is a form of fraud that goes to the very heart of public finances. It threatens the Executive’s overarching aim of achieving a peaceful, fair and prosperous society, with respect for the rule of law and where everyone can enjoy a better quality of life now and in years to come.

“Its impact on individuals, communities, society and the environment is devastating.For example,human trafficking, a particularly heinous form of organised crime, is on the rise here and causing misery in our midst. Vulnerable women and children falsely enticed here by the prospects of employment, education and a better life, can find themselves the victims of domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

Another area that the Committee highlighted was the illegal dumping of waste. The high cost of legitimately disposing of waste has made this an attractive area for criminals and unscrupulous individuals to exploit. Illegal dumping of waste is prevalent in every county of Northern Ireland and the resulting lost revenue is estimated to run to tens of millions of pounds a year. The clean-up costs for some sites can also run into millions.

Paul Maskey said: “This is money that is needed and could better be used for essential front-line services. Vigilance should be the watchword of the public sector and the key message to those involved in organised crime should be that it will not be tolerated and it will not pay. It is also vital that more is done to raise public awareness; the dangers of organised crime need to be continually highlighted.”

ENDS

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