Officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force today supported the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and conducted a search and arrest operation in Ards and North Down as part of an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF.
A 28 year old man was arrested under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 on suspicion of unlawfully supplying door staff following searches at two residential addresses in Bangor and Donaghadee, as well as an office premises in Newtownards. He has been taken to Musgrave Police Station where he is being questioned.
A number of items were seized during the searches including a BB gun, a number of laptops, documents, camouflage clothing and an ipad.
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: “Today’s joint search and arrest operation with the SIA ties into an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF.
“A 28 year old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying unlicensed door staff.
“The PSNI works closely with the SIA on a range of initiatives to ensure the public are kept safe by assuring that security staff are correctly licensed. This is important work as the public are exposed to door staff when, at times, they are at their most vulnerable through the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
“The PCTF is determined to disrupt and frustrate any criminal activities linked to paramilitaries. And we will continue to be relentless in delivering our contribution in working towards creating the environment in which a culture of lawfulness can thrive across all our communities.
“There is no hiding place for paramilitaries or criminality linked to them as they destroy people’s lives and harm the very communities they claim to be defenders of.
“We know that these paramilitary groups continue to hold a significant amount of fear, intimidation and control over communities and we are absolutely determined to take that control away from them and allow communities to prosper and live in safety.
“We work with people living in these areas to tackle the issues that affect their lives, however we need help from the community in identifying where criminality is taking place and who is involved in it. We would encourage anyone with information to contact the police on 101 or alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, HM Revenue & Customs and the National Crime Agency have established the PCTF to tackle criminality linked to paramilitary activity as part of the Executive's action plan on Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality, and Organised Crime.