Police laud 'seamless' relationship
The working relationship between police on both sides of the Irish border is now seamless, senior officers have claimed.
Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said the PSNI and Garda shared information and intelligence on a daily basis. His assessment of the enhanced inter-force co-operation was shared by Garda Deputy Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.
The high-ranking officers were joined by Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Stormont Justice Minister David Ford at the annual cross-border crime seminar, which this year was staged in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
Mr O'Sullivan said: "The day to day co-operation that we have ongoing with the PSNI and other partners in law enforcement agencies, the ministers, is transnational - it's the transnational nature of crime, so day to day we see those operations and those relationships developing even further."
Mr Harris said his officers were involved in joint operations with the Garda every week to tackle crime gangs, many of which had dissident republican links.
"In a very practical manner we work very closely day to day to make sure we are sharing information, sharing intelligence but also sharing our resources around joint investigations and parallel investigations into serious crimes and into organised crime groups and that's ongoing work and it's very important work," he said.
"We see constantly that this (organised crime) is becoming more and more of an international problem. The island of Ireland is seen as a target in its entirety and we have to respond completely seamlessly to this threat and that's what we are doing, keep driving this through."
The seminar in the Killyhevlin Hotel saw the publication of the annual Organised Crime Assessment, which outlines efforts to tackle the criminals and cross-border successes.
"This report provides a valuable analysis of the nature and extent of cross-border organised crime, the real dangers created by it and how law enforcement partners are dealing with these challenges," said Mr Harris.
"But I believe our most important, collective challenge is to change community attitudes towards organised crime. When you buy dodgy cigarettes, cheap fuel or counterfeit goods, you are providing funds for organised crime - for drugs gangs, for human trafficking, for terrorism."