Belfast Telegraph

MPs to probe rise in organised crime in Northern Ireland after ATM raids

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will also look at how Brexit will impact cross-border policing

Police believe organised crime gangs were responsible for a number of ATM thefts in NI this year.
Police believe organised crime gangs were responsible for a number of ATM thefts in NI this year.

MPs are launching an inquiry into organised crime gangs (OGCs) operating in Northern Ireland, it has been announced.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Affairs Committee is to carry out an investigation into the increasing number of OCGs operating in the province, with a particular focus on cross-border criminality and international networks.

Northern Ireland has seen a spate of suspected gang related crimes this year, including eight thefts of cash machines.

A joint report by the PSNI and Garda, published in 2018, detailed the illegal activities of OGCs including smuggling of illegal goods, human trafficking and data crime.

The committee will also investigate how Brexit will impact on cross-bordering policing and how technology and the "dark web" aids crime gangs.

Chair of the Committee Simon Hoare MP said: "Organised crime gangs present a significant and growing threat to Northern Ireland.

"This year’s disturbing spate of ATM thefts in Northern Ireland indicates how these gangs are adopting extreme new techniques to maximise financial gains and evade capture by law enforcement.

"It is essential that we understand why OCGs are increasing in number, who is joining them and how OGCs use international networks to facilitate their criminal activities.

"The Committee’s inquiry will examine how organised crime gangs currently operate within Northern Ireland and across the border and how leaving the EU might impact gang crime and policing."

The committee has called for anyone who wants to give evidence about OGCs in Northern Ireland to submit written evidence by Tuesday August 27.

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