Taylor welcomes Assembly vote on National Crime Agency

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info@newrytimes.com
Monday, February 9th, 2015
Politics
Local Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor has welcomed a vote in the Assembly to extend the powers of the National Crime Agency (NCA) to operate in Northern Ireland to the same extent as it does in the rest of the UK, so that it can target criminal assets. Speaking to Newry Times, Taylor said, “The situation which existed up until the Assembly vote was one in which the citizens of Northern Ireland were severely disadvantaged because the SDLP and Sinn Fein refused to approve the full operational powers of the NCA in this part of the UK. “This was an unacceptable situation which risked turning Northern Ireland into a safe haven for criminal gangs to ply their trade and use the Province as a base to conduct criminal activities on the UK Mainland. “It offered the real possibility of Northern Ireland becoming a criminals’ paradise, which allowed those involved in major crime schemes – both locally and internationally – the freedom of not having the full powers of law enforcement implemented here. “As I recently stated, it was vitally important the National Crime Agency was granted necessary powers to combat crime such as fuel laundering in the South Armagh area, particularly given the failure of the HMRC to act as a meaningful deterrent to the criminal gangs involved in this lucrative trade. He added, “Thankfully the SDLP has saw sense and voted to enable the NCA to operate within Northern Ireland and end the situation whereby Northern Ireland was more vulnerable to serious and organised criminal gangs who engage in activities such as people trafficking, drugs, cyber-crime and child exploitation.”

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