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An Garda Síochána Commences Operation Táirge

An Garda Síochána has commenced ‘Operation Táirge’, supporting operational activity aimed at detecting and preventing Organised Retail Crime (ORC).

Under ‘Operation Táirge’ Gardaí nationwide will work on reducing organised retail crime by:

  • Using an intelligence-led approach to identify criminals engaging in retail crime.
  • Disrupting the most prolific groups in operation through the use of organised crime legislation and proceeds of crime legislation.
  • Working with retailers to strengthen their security and prevent them becoming victims of this criminality.
  • Supporting those working in retail to report a crime.
  • Identifying and targeting the areas where ORC black markets operate, and their leadership
  • Working with high risk retailers to enhance prevention, investigation and prosecution.
  • Deterring people from becoming involved in organised retail crime by raising awareness of the consequences of committing such offences.

Organised retail crime (ORC) typically refers to situations where a number of persons are acting together, targeting retailer outlets to steal significant quantities of goods to resell back into the retail supply chain through the black market. It can also involve refund fraud with the purpose of making a financial or material benefit. ORC is usually co-ordinated and well-organised by people who recruit others to commit theft from retailers.

The stolen goods are then sold to what is known as a ‘fence’ who then either sells them at a particular location or in some cases may sell them online in an activity known as ‘e-fencing’.

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD said, “retail theft is not a victimless crime, and I welcome this new, nationwide operation targeting organised retail crime. I know from my engagement with the retail sector across the country, not only about the economic impact of thefts on our retail sector, but also the significant impact this type of crime has on staff retention, recruitment and personal safety.”

“An Garda Síochána is taking a strategic approach to this issue. Under the National Detection Improvement Plan, An Garda Síochána will provide a reliable and effective and consistent response to retail related incidents, and ensure that high visibility and targeted patrols are effectively implemented. This will help to provide a safe and unhindered shopping experience for members of the public.”

“Key to the success of Operation Táirge will be enhanced engagement with high risk retailers. Garda members will work with these retailers to educate them on Organised Retail Crime behaviours and to help them identify suspicious activity, act on it, make it known to investigating Garda members. I strongly encourage all retailers to maintain close contact with their local Superintendent, and I want to commend the work of An Garda Síochána in this area. I look forward to this making a real difference in helping us build stronger, safer communities.”

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD said, “Operation Táirge will be hugely beneficial for retailers across the country.  Retail crime has a significant impact not only on retailers’ bottom lines, but also on their employees who deserve a safe workplace.”

“This intelligence-led operation will target the most prolific perpetrators of retail crime.  It will support workers and assist businesses in preventing such crime and also act as a deterrent by raising awareness of the consequences of this type of criminality.”

“Gardaí are doing vital work in keeping our communities safe and Operation Táirge will play a key role in ensuring our retailers and their staff are protected from organised crime and the harm that it can do to their business, We are sending a clear message that there is no place for retail crime in Ireland.”

Chief Superintendent Padraic Jones, Garda National Community Engagement Bureau said, “organised retail crime (ORC) poses a significant threat to the viability of Irish retailers including Irish SMEs which are a core element of Ireland’s economy.”

“Operation Táirge has been established as part of An Garda Síochána’s Crime Prevention and Reduction Strategy in an effort to reduce the detrimental impact which criminals can have on retail businesses when they steal their goods.”

“We want business owners and staff to feel protected and safe from this kind of criminality, and we will continue to work closely with them in whatever way possible. Most essential is that we utilise our ongoing intelligence gathering to target and take out these groups – they’re no longer operating under any radar and they will be caught.”

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association estimate that retail crime costs retailers over of €1.62 billion each year. Additionally, the Global Retail Theft Barometer indicates that Ireland has the highest cost per capita of retail crime (€339.31) – significantly more than both second and third placed countries, Iceland and Denmark.

Arnold Dillon, Director of Retail Ireland and IBEC board member concluded, “business owners across Ireland are adversely affected by organised retail crime and shoplifting each year and can lose a significant amount in revenue as a result. Continuing to work in close partnership with Government and An Garda Síochána to address the challenges caused by retail theft is essential to the maintaining the strength of Ireland’s retail community.”

Operation Táirge is led by the Organised Retail Crime Tasking and Co-ordination Group within An Garda Síochána and supports each Garda region to monitor and respond to emerging trends in their area. As is often the case in organised crime, organised retail crime can involve an international dimension, therefore the co-ordination group is also maintaining its close working relationships with counterparts including the UK and Northern Ireland.

Source: An Garda Síochána


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