The PSNI has already warned of the potential consequences of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s restricting of the activities of the UK’s new National Crime Agency here. Now, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, it’s the turn of the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, to address the issue.
Speaking at the launch of the Organised Crime Task Force’s (OCTF) annual report at Crumlin Road jail yesterday, Mr Baggott said any NCA work carried out in Northern Ireland would be done “with complete transparency”.
And he warned that the police’s ability to fight organised crime and terrorism would be severely hampered by restricting NCA powers here.
He added: “It is essential we retain the expertise, the contacts and the capability of the National Crime Agency. You can’t separate the counter-terrorism efforts from organised crime.
“We know terrorist activities are still funded by fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling, armed robbery, extortion… the list carries on. [added emphasis]
“If the NCA isn’t able to operate here there will be a detrimental effect on our ability, not just to keep people safe today, but to keep our children and their children’s futures safe in the long-term. I’m not saying accountability is political dogma but I know the way people will interpret a block on the NCA being able to operate here.”