Chief Inspector welcomes ‘considerable progress’ in tackling business crime
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has made “considerable progress” in improving how business crime is dealt with, according to a new report published today (November 26).
In particular, Jacqui Durkin, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland, said the allocation of designated officers to lead on business crime has demonstrated to the retail sector that it is “a policing priority”.
Improvements have also been made to how the police and business community shared information with each other.
Ms Durkin said the follow-up review by the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) found that five of the six recommendations made in the original 2017 business crime inspection report had been achieved, with the remaining recommendation partially achieved.
“I am pleased to report inspectors found progress had been made on all recommendations and this work has supported the business community and the PSNI’s response to the challenges presented since March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ms Durkin.
“The need for effective partnerships between the business community and the police has never been more important or tested so much, with the implications of responding to the pandemic and its impact on our economy, drawing policing into a space never imagined.”
Ms Durkin said the follow-up review found that businesses were encouraged to engage constructively with the criminal justice system.
It highlighted that the current format of the Business Crime Partnership was effective in bringing together people representing different business interests and groups with representatives of the police, the Northern Ireland Policing Board and policing and community safety partnerships.
It also enabled the business community to help identify patterns and share information about re-occurring crimes to support a coordinated police response and to assist with other police investigations, such as missing person searches and appeals.
“The allocation of designated officers within the PSNI to lead on business crime and rural crime and maintain continuity and engagement with the business community, along with the regular attendance of operational and senior police officers at Retailers Against Crime Northern Ireland (RACNI) meetings, has demonstrated to the retail sector that business crime is a policing priority,” said Ms Durkin.
“I also welcome the involvement of RACNI in briefing and helping train police officers on sharing information about retail crime, and the links and ongoing collaboration between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána and the UK National Business Crime Centre around business crime.”
Inspectors carrying out the follow-up review also found there was greater strategic focus within the PSNI on issues such as serious and organised crime and cybercrime that affected business.
“I appreciate that defining business crime is difficult, however, not having a definition that is widely understood and applied holds back measurement, analysis and appropriate actions to address the impact on our community,” said Ms Durkin.
“I’m encouraged that the Business Crime Partnership remains committed to reaching a workable definition.”
In conclusion Ms Durkin said she welcomed the progress made in response to the inspection recommendations and the improvements in how business crime was dealt with by the criminal justice system.