Ministers welcome Cross Border Policing Strategy
Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald TD have welcomed the publication of a strategy which aims to further enhance cooperation between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána.
The Ministers were speaking at the annual Cross Border Organised Crime Conference which brings law enforcement agencies north and south together to learn from successes and to consider the new challenges emerging.
Developments in the past year include the establishment of the cross jurisdictional Joint Agency Task Force following the Fresh Start Agreement. The updated Cross Border Policing Strategy which was launched at the conference by PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will act as the over-arching Delivery Strategy for the work of the Task Force.
Minister Sugden said: “Cross Border co-operation is clearly vital, and I am very grateful to the PSNI and An Garda Síochána for their combined efforts in tackling criminal activity in both jurisdictions. This joint working has undoubtedly saved lives, prevented crime and enabled the detection of criminals who would seek to bring misery to communities on both sides of the border.
“This Strategy underlines the continuing practical and strategic co-operation that exists between the two police services, and it will further cement the excellent working relationships that have proved so effective.
“The new Joint Agency Task Force will also further enhance the cooperation between PSNI and An Garda Síochána and, indeed, other law enforcement agencies.”
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said: “North-South cooperation in policing and criminal justice is a priority for the Irish Government. The levels of cooperation between the law enforcement agencies in both jurisdictions are already outstanding, but will continue to be further enhanced. We experience the same tasks in both parts of the island with regard to combating crime, managing offenders and supporting victims, and it is entirely logical for us to collaborate on developing solutions to address our common challenges.”
“I welcome the new Cross Border Policing Strategy as the latest expression of this cooperation. The new Strategy updates the objectives for cross border cooperation across a range of policing areas and will be of significant benefit to keeping our communities safe and secure.”
“I must also commend the ongoing collaboration that underpins the Joint Agency Task Force and I welcome the success of the joint operations already undertaken. The work of the Task Force demonstrates the commitment on the part of law enforcement agencies, north and south, to tackling organised crime and paramilitarism. I congratulate all who are involved.”
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, George Hamilton said: “The foundation for success in joint police activity has been, and will continue to be, the strength and depth of the trust and co-operation between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Sióchána at all levels. This updated framework will provide a valuable platform for both services to embark on further joint activity on issues which affect our communities such as rural policing and intelligence sharing.”
Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, Noirín O’Sullivan said: “Today is another demonstration of the excellent co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland; co-operation that has produced significant results on both sides of the border.
“Every day, our organisations work together to tackle criminality, placing a strong emphasis on disrupting and tackling the activity of organised crime gangs working along the border.
The launch of the Cross Border Policing Strategy and the work to date of the Joint Agency Task Force shows the value of the joined-up thinking needed in this rapidly changing policing and security environment.
Both, An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have extensive and rich experience and knowledge and by combining that expertise and know-how along with our other partner agencies we will make our services stronger, which in turn will help to keep communities safe in all parts of this island.”
In advance of the conference Minister Sugden and the Tánaiste met under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters where they discussed a range of issues of mutual interest. In addition to an update from the Joint Agency Task Force which is required on a bi-annual basis under the terms of the Fresh Start Agreement, the Ministers also discussed the 2016/17 Work Programme and the justice implications of the UK exit from the EU.