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The Terrorist Finance Unit and the Joint Action Group on Organised Crime: New Organisational Models and Investigative Strategies to Counter ‘Organised Crime’ in the UK

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Abstract:

In developing an effective police response to ‘organised crime’ many practitioners look to the experience of Northern Ireland and interagency models of co-operation. Recent action against organised offending in the province have been politically-driven, reliant on both emergency legislation and the support of a Terrorist Finance Unit which was integrated within the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1996. Reviews of emergency legislation have sustained the profile of paramilitary funding, whilst the Northern Ireland Office has focused upon fears that ex-paramilitaries would become ‘organised mafia-type’offenders. In exploring a number of developing models of interagency co-operation in the UK, this article will focus on the creation of two interagency bodies: the Terrorist Finance Unit in Northern Ireland, and the Joint Action Group on Organised Crime of the Metropolitan Police. The aim is to show that an organisational response and a policing strategy within Northern Ireland directed against ‘terrorist funding’ is now the integrated criminal police response to all forms of crime in Northern Ireland. With the creation of the National Crime Squad and a statutory National Criminal Intelligence Service in April 1998, the prospect of these developments to be extended throughout the UK are all the more apparent. Despite the additional political momentum to enhance European-wide action against ‘international organised crime’ it is cautioned that recent UK interagency initiatives lack transparency, and pose major challenges to existing structures of accountability.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2311.00107

Affiliations: Institute of Police and Criminological Studies, University of Portsmouth

Publication date: 1998-11-01

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