Kennedy supports action to tackle Business Crime

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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
Politics
Ulster Unionist Party Newry & Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy has called for increased measures to tackle Business Crime. Danny KennedySpeaking during a debate at Stormont, Kennedy said, “I know from my constituency of Newry and Armagh that a number of challenges are faced by legitimate businesses as they seek to operate in an environment where they face competition from those who operate outside the law. “I am talking mainly about the high incidence of fuel fraud, which, unfortunately, takes place almost on an industrial scale in the border area, but I also have concerns about the spate of ATM thefts and, indeed, rural crime, generally. “I have sympathy with the PSNI in that their numbers are often stretched, and they often find it very difficult to acquire the evidence that is required to secure prosecutions and convictions. “However, Retailers Against Crime highlighted that the under-reporting of crime was an issue due to a lack of confidence and a perception that retail crime was not treated as seriously as other types of crime. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) contended that the under-reporting of crime was particularly evident in relation to rural crime. “I also note with interest that Retailers Against Crime raised concerns that those convicted of retail crimes received inadequate penalties, which served as no deterrent. That is a theme that I have more than a degree of sympathy with,” he continued. “It is absolutely imperative that the courts adopt a policy that involves sentences that act as a punishment and a deterrent. That is the case with regard to fuel fraud, particularly. The cost of fuel fraud to society is already well known. “It lines the pockets of criminal gangs, puts legitimate traders out of business, endangers public health through pollution of waterways, affects the local environment and defrauds the public purse of money that could be spent on hospitals, schools and roads. Kennedy added, “I welcome the addition of the National Crime Agency to those forces ranged against this serious and organised crime. I am confident that they will prove a great support to the police and HMRC as they bid to combat the organised crime gangs who make millions of pounds from this illegal trade.”

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