Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

134 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans for tackling organised crime; if he expects to achieve certain targets in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17295/03]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

135 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he proposes to draw up a specific plan to deal with organised crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17296/03]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

139 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the apparent increase in organised crime culminating in shootings and stabbings; if he has in mind specific plans to deal with the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17300/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134, 135 and 139 together.

As the Deputy is aware, a broad range of strong legislation is available to the Garda Síochána to enable serious and organised crime to be confronted effectively. Our criminal legislative framework reflects international developments to respond to the growth of organised crime and specific measures enacted to meet our particular domestic situation. The strategy statements of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform set out the range of challenging goals and activities across the broad spectrum of the Department's activities, including the delivery of the Government's comprehensive initiatives to tackle serious crime.

The priorities which I have advised the Garda Commissioner to address have been incorporated into the Garda Síochána policing plan 2003. They include the objective of developing a strategic approach to policing and operational responsibilities in the areas of serious and organised crime. In implementing this objective, the targeting of areas of criminality, as well as individuals and groups operating nationally, will continue to be priorities for the Garda.
The Garda policing plan 2003 sets out the strategic goal and performance indicators for the Garda Síochána in investigating crime generally, including serious and organised crime, and in implementing new and improved crime prevention measures. Copies of the Department's strategy statements and the Garda policing plan 2003 are available in the Oireachtas Library.
The Garda Síochána has a substantial strategy in existence to deal with organised crime. This strategy consists of a number of specialist national bureaux combining with local units and other statutory agencies to deal with the main components of organised crime. These components are being dealt with by: the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Garda national drugs unit; the Garda bureau of fraud investigation; the Garda national immigration bureau and the Criminal Assets Bureau. The work of these specialist units is drawn together under an assistant commissioner in charge of national support services – under the overall control of deputy commissioner, operations.
The Garda Síochána is at all times working on ways to strengthen the methods of dealing with organised crime, including investigation techniques. In this regard, the Garda Síochána works closely with Interpol and Europol to render investigations more effective and efficient. In addition, the continued successes of the Criminal Assets Bureau has led to more and more criminals being denied the proceeds of their criminal activity. Criminal assets targeted by the bureau include established high cash businesses, real property, vehicle and investment products.
With regard to a number of recent incidents, the term "organised crime" has been used by the media in referring to the nature of certain serious crimes, including unlawful killings. This does not correspond to the manner in which the Garda Síochána classifies crime or individual offences. All murders and violent crimes are subject to detailed investigations regardless of the circumstances in which they occurred. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are a number of ongoing investigations at this time and that the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and other national specialist Garda units are providing assistance as required.