The OCTF was established in 2000. It provides, in an ever changing environment, an essential forum for strategic leadership and ensuring a collective and collaborative response to the threat posed by organised crime in Northern Ireland.
The current OCTF structure is made up of a Strategy Group which includes senior representation from statutory and law enforcement partners and provides oversight across a number of thematic Sub Groups on criminal finance, drugs, cybercrime, modern slavery and human trafficking, intellectual property crime and emerging threats.
Member organisations of the thematic Sub Groups include relevant government departments, law enforcement agencies, the Public Prosecution Service and representatives from the business community.
The OCTF provides a space for information and expertise to be shared, and it supports the development of operational partnerships. The OCTF also has a vital communications role to inform the public and business community about emerging threats and about the steps they can take to protect themselves and their businesses from the harm of organised crime.
What is Organised Crime?
Organised crime can be defined as planned and co-ordinated criminal behaviour, conducted by people, groups or networks working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is usually, but not always, financial gain. Organised crime in this and other countries recognises neither borders nor economic interests.
Organised crime takes many forms including cyber-related crime, drug trafficking, modern slavery, counterfeiting, fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling, fraud or money laundering. In some cases organised crime may involve violence or the threat of violence and some organised crime groups in Northern Ireland also have paramilitary connections.
The threats from organised criminality mean we are all vulnerable. Individuals and businesses may suffer financial and reputational loss from fraud, cyber-attack, or from questionable traders offering lower prices by operating outside the law.
Organised criminality diverts money away from investment in key public services and lines the pockets of those who seek to exploit others.
The sale of counterfeit goods, cigarettes or alcohol, funds criminal groups’ activities, and it is these same groups who are engaged in exploiting young people in our communities, the same groups who are engaged in drug trafficking, and the same groups who traffic and exploit people, often the most vulnerable.