Statement from Crime Operations Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray on Operation Arbacia

  • 24 August 2020

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“Last week the Police Service of Northern Ireland arrested 10 people - 8 men and 2 women - under the Terrorism Act as part of a significant and carefully planned operation called Arbacia.

“This is an ongoing and coordinated investigation into the activities of the New IRA and involves partners such as MI5, Police Scotland, An Garda Siochana and the Metropolitan Police Service.

“Eight people have now been charged with a total of 34 terrorist offences.  All have been remanded in custody.

“And I can now confirm a ninth person has been charged with four terrorist offences.

“Overall these offences include:

  • Directing terrorism
  • Preparatory acts of terrorism,
  • Membership of a proscribed organisation
  • Conspiracy to possess explosives with intent to endanger life
  • Conspiracy to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life

“The offences speak for themselves.

“One person remains in custody – you will understand that due to the criminal justice process I can say little more.

“This is an opportunity to provide some context around Arbacia.

“This investigation did not start last week and it will not end this week. Today what I want to discuss is the broader focus of Arbacia going forward. 

“It is a longer term investigation that will look into every aspect of the activities of the New IRA in its entirety.

“Keeping the public safe is at the heart of this operation.

“Previous investigations have shown time and time again we have seen the New IRA does not care who it hurts or what it destroys.

“They do not care about the communities they come from – they care for no one. They are reckless, manipulative and they exploit.

“We have seen how they send young people onto the streets, how they don’t care if kids are likely to find guns and explosives where they play.

“It’s really disappointing that decades on from the Good Friday Agreement there are still groups who are using and hiding bombs and bullets in residential areas and putting their own agendas above the rights of the community who want to live and thrive in peace.

“Communities are key and have shown their power in coming together to protect each other during a global pandemic. Now is the time to continue that effort

“Policing with the community is at the heart of what we do, we are committed to working with communities, towards meaningful change.”

The press conference can be viewed at:

Keeping People Safe