“if anything the problem has increased”

The Belfast Telegraph’s Jonathan McCambridge picked up on an article in the Economic Outlook And Business Review, which doesn’t appear to be online available here (P. 16), by Bridget Lloyd, assistant director of analytical services at the PSNI. The report quotes from the article that the assesment, given the under-reporting of incidents, is that for-profit-terrorism has increased in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Agreement. And that doesn’t include the more public examples.. Added Link to Review. Thanks Mark.From the Belfast Telegraph article

In an article entitled Extortion – The Cost Of Doing Business In Northern Ireland?, she said: “It is hard to assess the scale and scope of this problem [extortion] in NI, as it is grossly underreported to police.

“What is clear is that extortion is prevalent in many parts of Northern Ireland and that its overall impact on businesses, individuals and on the community as a whole is significant.”

She added: “Traditionally, demands were made on behalf of the organisation, very often under the guise of prisoners’ welfare, but the release of most of the paramilitary prisoners following the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) has not led to any diminution in levels of extortion; if anything the problem has increased with individual members and former members operating independently but using their terrorist credentials to increase the fear factor for their victims.

It is suggested they are operating with the knowledge of their leadership of their organisations on the understanding that they will not be afforded any organisational support if caught.“[added emphasis]

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  • Pete

    Well, the PSNI, through some aspects of their own policing operations, have fuelled, to some extent, this money giving behaviour.

    For a genuine example: I know of a manager who runs a small retail convenience shop sited in a mainly loyalist community. The convenience store is plagued with children stealing and causing ASB to the extent of driving away customers from the very shop door.

    Therefore, pinned up on the wall is a list of mobile numbers, obtained from the previous manager, which are of local loyalist paramilitaries, who can, upon a quick call, visit the area and move the kids on when things become insufferable.

    So, when such loyalists come into convenience stores and businesses, of this nature, asking for donations, is it any wonder money is paid because they effectively deal with social problems often left by police, who are in pursuit of other more ‘serious’ offences.

    The law needs to be changed to make democratic community policing work over that of mob-rule community policing, which is perceived to be at best short-term effective.

    Only one side of the argument of course; blatant extortion without any such benefits is, as stated, prevalent.

  • Mark
  • Big House Drinker (rtd)

    I can definitely see the benefit for your friend in terms of an easy life in utilising and then paying paramilitaries to keep order round his business but it takes a very generous reading to see this as a welcome service. In areas under their control they can turn such behaviour on and off like a tap, and they are using it to build a role for themselves post-ceasefire.

    The ‘dial-a-paramilitary’ thing cuts both ways in some cases too. The feral little hoods who pollute Ballynafeigh often have the mobile numbers of loyalist paramilitaries in Annadale who mustn’t be particularly busy as they can be on the scene in literally minutes.

    We made the mistake of responding to the taunts of these half-fed little caricatures of what you don’t want your kids to turn out like once and were lucky to escape in one piece. Track-suited spides we could handle, a car load of steroid monsters was a bridge too far. Luckily the same could be said about the nearby link to the Lr Ormeau for them.

    There’s a moral in that rant somewhere. Possibly: Cultchies! Head down and walk on
    Steroid Freaks! Do some cardiovascular. You’ll maybe catch us next time!. On second thoughts…