A detective has warned there is no hiding place for paramilitaries or criminality in Northern Ireland.
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton was speaking following the arrest of a 28-year-old man on suspicion of supplying unlicensed door staff.
Searches were carried out at a number of properties across the Ards and North Down area on Thursday.
They were carried out by officers from the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) as part of an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF.
Searches were carried out at two residential addresses in Bangor and Donaghadee, as well as office premises in Newtownards.
A number of items were seized during the searches, including a BB gun, laptops, documents, camouflage clothing and an iPad.
The 28-year-old man who was arrested is being questioned at Musgrave police station.
Det Supt Singleton said the PCTF is determined to disrupt criminal activities linked to paramilitary groups.
“The PSNI works closely with the SIA on a range of initiatives to ensure the public are kept safe by assuring that security staff are correctly licensed,” he said.
The PCTF is determined to disrupt and frustrate any criminal activities linked to paramilitariesDetective Superintendent Bobby Singleton
“This is important work as the public are exposed to door staff when, at times, they are at their most vulnerable through the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
“The PCTF is determined to disrupt and frustrate any criminal activities linked to paramilitaries. And we will continue to be relentless in delivering our contribution in working towards creating the environment in which a culture of lawfulness can thrive across all our communities.
“There is no hiding place for paramilitaries or criminality linked to them as they destroy people’s lives and harm the very communities they claim to be defenders of.”
In October 1994, the Combined Loyalist Military Command, which included the UVF, called a ceasefire.
It renounced violence in 2007, and decommissioned weapons in 2009.
However, sections of the grouping have been linked with criminality since then.
Det Supt Singleton said paramilitary groups continue to control some communities.
“We know that these paramilitary groups continue to hold a significant amount of fear, intimidation and control over communities and we are absolutely determined to take that control away from them and allow communities to prosper and live in safety,” he said.
“We work with people living in these areas to tackle the issues that affect their lives, however we need help from the community in identifying where criminality is taking place and who is involved in it.
“We would encourage anyone with information to contact the police on 101 or alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”