HC Deb 04 December 2001 vol 376 c219W
Mr. Quentin Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the Government's policy is in regard to(a) organised crime and (b) community policing in Northern Ireland. [16305]

Jane Kennedy

The Government are determined to confront organised crime in Northern Ireland and are leading the fight through the work of the Organised Crime Task Force, which I chair.

The Task Force, launched in September 2000, is a multi-agency initiative, involving the Police Service of Northern Ireland, HM Customs & Excise and others. Work is already well developed and the operational agencies have achieved significant successes. For example, on 8 November, a joint operation by Customs and police resulted in seizure of 42.6 million illicit cigarettes, the largest ever seizure in the United Kingdom.

The Government will not permit the legacy of terrorism to develop into a system of organised crime activity in Northern Ireland. However, there are no short-term fixes. The dismantling of organised crime groups takes time, expertise and commitment.

The Government and the Chief Constable accept the importance of community policing and are committed to ensuring that this is a core function of the police service and the core function of every police station. It is the Government's policy to support, in every way possible, the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, in delivering effective community policing.