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Criminal Assets Bureau.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 30 January 2008

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Questions (1171)

Barry Andrews


1238 Deputy Barry Andrews asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has plans to expand the remit of the Criminal Assets Bureau towards recovering the proceeds of crime from individuals at a lower level of criminal activity than is currently the practice; if he has spoken to the Garda Commissioner in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1908/08]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The Criminal Assets Bureau has been at the forefront of the fight against organised crime, including drug trafficking, in this jurisdiction since its inception in 1996. The significant successes that the Bureau continues to achieve by its operations demonstrates the effectiveness of its approach in pursuing illegally gotten gains. The manner in which the Bureau operates has, in the period of its existence, come to be viewed, both domestically and internationally, as a very successful model for targeting persons seeking to derive profits from criminal activities.

In relation to the issue of the Bureau's work at local levels, I can inform the Deputy that in order to maximise the benefit that can be derived from local knowledge, officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau work closely with Gardaí from specific regions and localities in order to ensure that the efforts of the Bureau are targeted in the most effective manner possible. I have also already included in the Government's policing priorities for 2008 for An Garda Síochána a specific reference to enhanced liaison arrangements between Garda Divisions and the Criminal Assets Bureau in the pursuit of those engaged in drug dealing at all levels.

The Bureau continues to utilise the services of Divisional Criminal Assets Profilers throughout the country. At present twenty seven divisional profilers have been appointed and are operational and the complement of Divisional profilers will continue to be monitored and reviewed on an on-going basis. The use of local Garda officers in this way ensures that preparatory groundwork can be carried out in advance of a full investigation by the Bureau. Asset profilers have at all times recourse to the expertise and advice of the Bureau. Essentially a key function of these profilers is to ascertain and build up information at local levels and point out individuals at whom the Bureau's work can be targeted. Such information is then investigated and followed up further by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Finally, I can assure the Deputy that any individuals in local communities who believe they can openly flaunt wealth or assets secured through illegal activities, including drug dealing, will be vigorously pursued by the Gardaí either through the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1994 or through the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau under its statutory remit.