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Paramilitaries, Ordinary Decent Criminals and the Development of Organised Crime following the Belfast Agreement

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Abstract

This paper analyses the changing nature of organised and serious crime following the peace process in Northern Ireland which officially commenced in 1998. The paper examines those social and situational factors which have led to a rise in crimes perpetrated by both paramilitary Republican and Loyalist organisations, and by the so-called ‘ordinary decent criminals’ (ODCs) unrelated to paramilitary groups. These social and situational factors include political, security and economic variables. As such, Northern Ireland is an important case study of the political context of crime. Whilst the peace process is a positive development, the political transition has had associated unintended effects. The fact that rising crime has resulted from political change should not be taken as an argument against the peace process. Serious crime is defined as indictable offences which by their nature attracts substantial terms of imprisonment. Organised crime is defined in accordance with the National Criminal Intelligence Service as three or more individuals engaging in long-term profit-driven criminal activity (NCIS, 2001). Thus organised crime may include serious offences and other offences (forgery, theft) if they occur as part of organised criminality. The problems surrounding this definition will also be addressed later in the paper.

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... A second fixture in the British and Irish crime landscape are the so-called family firms, clusters of criminals centred on, but also extending beyond kinship ties (Hobbs 2001). A third type of criminal structure specifically linked to Northern Ireland are paramilitary groups that have allegedly been morphing more and more into criminal gangs (Clarke and Lee 2008;Moran 2004). ...
Article
This paper provides an introduction to the articles and report excerpt submitted to the special issue of Trends in Organized Crime on ‘Organised crime and illegal markets in the UK and Ireland’. The aim of the special issue is to draw together empirical research findings and theoretical accounts on various manifestations of organised crime in the particular geographic context(s), the evolution of organised crime, the links between organised crime, the legal sphere and paramilitary groups, as well as an account of the demographic profile and attitudes of citizens in areas in which organised crime groups thrive.
... Indeed, these advanced community networks can link and bridge across the divided communities and also provide both short and long-term solutions to the perceived and actual deficiencies in state-based provision of security (c.f.Topping, 2008b). Brewer (2001) has also indicated that as part of the process of democratic transition in the country, there has been minimal erosion of the local 'moral' economies, 'grapevine' networks and social organising derived from the Troubles to maintain social order and control (Moran, 2004). It is therefore to specific issues of engagement between the state/police and civil society capacities to which the literature shall now focus, in order to provide a contemporary perspective on the 'place' of security governing. ...
Thesis
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Policing in stable, democratic societies is predominantly concerned with the implementation and practice of the globally accepted philosophy of ‘community policing’. This concept, while itself contested within the modern structure of policing, is further problematized in transitional and post-conflict societies. From police legitimacy to opposing and alternative provision of security governance, the imposition of community policing encounters problems on many different levels. What the thesis examines is the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) reform towards a vision of community policing in line with Recommendation 44 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (ICP); while taking into account the contributions of non-state security governance provision at the community level. On one hand, the thesis provides a unique study of the delivery of community policing by the PSNI. And on the other, it provides the first empirical and systematic study of the contribution of non-state actors to the broader policing landscape. Using the sample areas of East and West Belfast, the research involved in-depth, semistructured interviews with PSNI officers and members of community-based organisations who contribute to the governance of security within those areas. At the core of police reforms in the country, the implementation of community policing (or Policing with the Community under the rubric of the Independent Commission for Policing) has faltered in the face of institutional inertia within PSNI. This has been exacerbated by a failure of the police to adequately increase the co-production of security through improved engagement and utilisation of Northern Ireland’s diverse community infrastructures, which contribute broad policing rather than police issues. Through the concept of community governance policing, the thesis argues that there is a significant potential for interaction between PSNI and non-state ‘policing’ actors. And as part of the ICP’s vision of policing more broadly conceived, the thesis contends that through PSNI embracing the unique ‘otherness’ to security provision at the community-level, there is an opportunity to enhance the delivery of community policing which includes community-based contributions to policing and security governing as part of a broader ‘public good’.
... Topping, 2008b). Brewer (2001) has also indicated that as part of the process of democratic transition, Northern Ireland has largely retained these local 'moral' economies, 'grapevine' community safety networks and social organising derived from the conflict to maintain social order and control (Moran, 2004). It is therefore to specific issues of engagement between the state/police and civil society capacities to which attention shall now turn, in order to provide a contemporary perspective on the 'place' of community security governance. ...
Article
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1998년에 북아일랜드는 1972년부터 약 30년 동안 계속되었던 무력분쟁을 멈추고 평화로운 사회를 건설하기 위한 여정을 시작했다. 그러나 그 길은 절대 순탄하지 않았으며, 오히려 최근 브렉시트 이후 정치적으로, 사회적으로 더욱 더 불안해지고 있다. 본 논문은 북아일랜드를 위로부터 타협된 평화, 아래로부터 만들어지는 평화, 평화의 반대자들이 구성하는 ‘평화와 갈등의 동학’이 존재하는 공간으로 파악한다. 그리고 Romsbotham, Woodhouse & Miall이 제시한 모래시계 모델(Hourglass Model)을 기반으로 이 동학을 분석하여 북아일랜드가 여전히 정치적으로, 사회적으로 불안정한 원인이 ‘갈등 봉합’ 중심 갈등 해결 접근방식에 있음을 밝히고자 한다.
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