Former senior PSNI officer: paramilitaries undermine rule of law and democracy ‘
Former Chief Superintendent Roy McComb, who is also a former Deputy Director of the National Crime Agency, is now a private consultant on organized crime and terrorism for the UN, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Agency for training of the police.
In yesterday’s newsletter, he highlighted how Eastern European criminal gangs are steadily gaining influence through NI. Today, he says the threat posed by the paramilitaries to NI is still “significant”.
“Do today’s paramilitaries have the capacity to wage war against the UVF and PIRA of the 1970s and 1980s? ” He asked. “Probably not – but they still pose a serious threat to the people of Northern Ireland.
“It gets even more complex when you understand that Republicans and Loyalists are involved in organized crime.
“So the threat they pose is not that of obvious terrorist activity. They have grown from an openly terrorist group to a terrorist group involved in organized crime and, in this sense, they represent a significant risk to the people of Northern Ireland.
“I say this in the context of the counterfeit goods that are sold, the drugs made available, the erosion of confidence in law enforcement due to organized crime activities, and the scale and will to undertake money laundering.
“So in that sense, organized crime should be given greater importance and priority for both government and law enforcement.”
When asked if the paramilitaries have an impact on the rule of law and democracy, he is unequivocal.
“Yes, they are, because we give them the floor, we invite them to meetings, we give them the opportunity to comment, we present them as if they were the spokespersons of the communities while in does everyone know that they are leaders and representatives of paramilitary groups.
“They should be vilified for who they are – namely, they are organized criminals wrapped in a flag of convenience. There is active crime in both Republican communities and loyalist communities posing as people supposedly involved in the communities. There are people who hide behind the banner of the tricolor or Ulster to make money from organized crime.
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