I am happy to say that there is close and ongoing co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI on all aspects of policing. The Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI who are responsible for operational policing co-operation have repeatedly emphasised that the close and high quality co-operation between their forces has been instrumental in preventing attacks, combating criminality and saving lives. Notably, the two police forces operate a joint Cross Border Policing Strategy which has as its aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland, to disrupt criminal activity and to enhance the policing capability of both police services on the island. All of these are important elements in enabling the two forces to work more effectively together in tackling crime and promoting community safety for all communities on this island.
The Cross Border Policing Strategy includes sections dealing with Operations, Cross-border Investigations, Intelligence-sharing and Security, Information and Communications Technology, Training, Human Resources, and Emergency Planning and both Forces are jointly engaged in developing initiatives in these areas. I would point out also that the Strategy recognises the value of interagency co-operation in certain areas. The two Police Services work closely with the Customs Services North and South and with other relevant law enforcement agencies in combatting cross-border organised crime and have had a number of significant successes in disrupting fuel smuggling and tobacco fraud activities. There is also proactive co-operation with the Irish and British immigration services in managing the Common Travel Area on the island of Ireland. The Cross Border Policing Strategy is a positive and dynamic step in further enhancing and developing joint efforts between the police services on this island to address the common policing challenges which crime presents and, thereby, to underpin efforts to improve community safety.