One interesting aspect of the coverage, in various media outlets, of the announcement that new proposals on the regulation of the taxi trade are out for consultation… is what’s missing. Like the regulation of liquor licensing, the taxi trade has been making regular appearances in a ‘to-do’ list in the reports by the IMC, including its most recent 10th report. In the case of the new proposals on liquor licensing all the main political parties united in opposition to lobby the NIO… and the NIO backed down, at least for now. If we see a similar response this time the IMC may have something to say about it in their next report..From the IMC’s 10th report, 26th April[pdf file],
Previous IMC Recommendations relating to Paramilitary Organised Crime
4.10 We have made a number of recommendations relating to organised crime in previous reports. We thought it would be useful at this stage, after two years of reporting, to recap what we had proposed. In summary, we recommended that:
All the UK agencies involved in the Organised Crime Task Force should ensure that their strategies fully reflected the significance of the threat posed by paramilitary organised crime in Northern Ireland;
All relevant agencies should maximise the benefits of assets recovery, and the British Government should provide the Assets Recovery Agency with the resources necessary for its work in Northern Ireland;
The UK Inland Revenue26 should ensure that its priorities for the enforcement of the tax laws fully reflect the special challenge of organised crime in Northern Ireland;
The British and Irish Governments should ensure that in the forthcoming introduction of regulations on charities they take account of the need to reduce the opportunities for paramilitary groups to launder funds through charities;
The review the NIO was then undertaking of the licensing regime for the security industry should take account of the need to bear down to the maximum extent possible on paramilitary involvement, in conjunction with other control regimes and other aspects of law enforcement;
The arrangements for supervising the alcohol and taxi trades should be examined with the same end in mind;[added emphasis]
The British and Irish Governments should introduce licensing regimes for retail outlets which would enable the closure of businesses that have been engaged in the illicit fuel trade and would keep out of the fuel industry all those who have been involved in that trade, together with anybody fronting for them.
4.11 We are aware that there have been developments in some of these areas since we reported. For example, the Organised Crime Task Force has reorganised and refocused its work. The Irish Government recently published a detailed scheme for legislation to regulate charities, and in Northern Ireland the British Government is developing proposals for legislation following a public consultation. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons is conducting an enquiry into organised crime. We refer to developments on assets recovery above. We will continue to examine progress on all these recommendations.