An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) carried out a planned cross-border operation tackling rural crime along border counties and arrested a number of people.

The Joint Agency Task Force operation included collaboration and cooperation with the PSNI; the Garda North Western Regional Armed Support Unit; the Garda Air Support Unit; regular policing units; detective branches; and roads policing units from the Louth, Cavan/Monaghan, Sligo/Leitrim, and Donegal divisions.

The action last evening (Wednesday, February 17) spanned the entire border area concentrating on cross-border burglaries and organised crime gangs that use the border corridor to facilitate their criminal activity.

Tactical operation

The operation involved a high visibility deployment of officers on both sides of the border with An Garda Síochána and the PSNI working in a coordinated manner.

During the operation a number of detections were made:

  • Five arrests for driving under the influence of an intoxicant;
  • Three detections for drugs possession arising from drugs searches;
  • Three vehicles were seized under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act;
  • One man in his 40s arrested following the seizure of suspected heroin, amphetamines and cannabis in Clones, Co. Monaghan;
  • Separately the PSNI made 12 arrests, eight drugs seizures and seized three vehicles during the operation.

Detective Superintendent John O’Flaherty of the North Western Region Garda said: “An Garda Síochána is acutely aware that rural crime has the potential to cause serious harm to local communities and with our colleagues in the PSNI we are committed to working together to ensure we keep everyone safe on both sides of the border.

“Last evening’s operation forms part of our continued efforts to disrupt the movements and activities of organised crime gangs and works to reduce and prevent criminal activity in border areas”.

Joint cooperation

The 2015 Fresh Start Agreement established the formal mandate for a Cross Border Joint Agency Task Force with the aim of bringing a concerted and enhanced effort to tackle cross-jurisdictional organised crime.

The Joint Agency Task force is led by senior officers from the PSNI, An Garda Síochána, and other key partner agencies.

The PSNI districts involved in the operation were: Newry Mourne and Down; Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon; Mid Ulster; Fermanagh and Omagh; and Derry city and Strabane.