Belfast Telegraph

PSNI confirm investigation into 'exploitation and criminality' affecting Roma community in Belfast

(stock picture)
(stock picture)

The PSNI is investigating 'exploitation and criminality' affecting the Roma community in Belfast and has appealed for those who may have been victims to come forward.

Police issued a statement after the BBC Nolan Show broadcast claims about the exploitation of Roma people in the south Belfast area.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid said: “In early August 2018, Criminal Investigations Branch in Belfast commenced an investigation into exploitation and criminality affecting the Roma Community.

“The investigation was instigated by the contents of a number of social media posts and a number of posters which were erected in public areas in South Belfast in August. This investigation is ongoing and is being conducted in partnership with a number of agencies.

“We would thank the individuals who have come forward so far and we would appeal to anyone in the community who has concerns about this issue to speak to police by contacting us on the non-emergency number 101.”

UUP MLA Doug Beattie called for a "full investigation" into the allegations surrounding individuals linked to the Romanian Roma Community Association for Northern Ireland (RRCANI) 

Mr Beattie, who is the UUP's justice spokesman, said: “Many people will have been very concerned at the reports that have emerged regarding the activities of individuals linked to the RRCANI.

"This includes alleged intimidation and exploitation of the vulnerable Roma community in South Belfast, the very community they receive public funding to support.

“Given RRCANI received payment from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the Belfast Trust and Belfast City Council, it is clearly important that an investigation is completed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible without disrupting important support to this vulnerable group.

“Exploitation of vulnerable individuals can lead to some very dark places indeed and I am concerned as to what other revelations may emerge."

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