HELP URGED OVER ORGANISED CRIME
The government has urged businesses and financial institutions to help combat organised criminal gangs in Northern Ireland.
The government estimates that organised crime costs the Northern Ireland economy up to £700m each year. The Organised Crime Task Force appealed for help in catching those responsible at a seminar in Belfast. Bank officials, accountants, estate agents, lawyers and members of the business community attended the event. They heard details of measures aimed at making life more difficult for criminals.
Businesses are being urged to file suspicious activity reports if they believe any of their clients or customers are involved in crime. These will then be investigated by the police and other agencies. More than 6,000 of these reports were filed in Northern Ireland last year and there was praise for those who had helped.
However, Security Minister Paul Goggins also warned of action against those who fail to report suspicious activity or who actively help criminals. “I’m encouraged that the vast majority of lawyers and accountants in Northern Ireland play their proper role and act responsibly,” Mr Goggins said. “For the very small minority who don’t, those who are actually themselves involved in illegal activity, the message is loud and clear that we’ll deal with them as well.”