The Tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme is an ambitious, multi-disciplinary and transformational change programme working to deliver the NI Executive’s priority of addressing the challenging issues associated with paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.
The Programme is currently in its second phase (2021-2024). The overall aim of the Programme is to achieve safer communities, resilient to paramilitarism, criminality and coercive control. More information about the background to the Programme and Phase 1 can be found here.
In the current financial year (2022-23), the Programme is investing approximately £11.5m across nearly 80 projects. Using innovative local expertise and internationally recognised methods, projects prevent people being exploited and provide direct support or signpost people towards help. The Programme operates throughout Northern Ireland and projects vary in scale, focus, location, target group and methodology depending on an identified need.
The Programme’s projects draw on expertise, data and knowledge from lots of disciplines. Some projects prevent harm before it occurs (like a flexible education initiative to stop children being vulnerable to criminal exploitation); some aim to deal with harm immediately as it is happening – to stabilise the situation and prevent it worsening (like the multi-agency youth stream of a Support Hub to support young people who are at risk of being involved with, influenced by, or exploited by paramilitary gangs; and some projects are about reducing the long term impact of paramilitarism and organised crime (for example young men who have previously been involved in paramilitary / criminal activity).
The Programme has many different measurable indicators of progress that show the impact the Programme is having over time. These are measured at project, programme and strategic level. Further information, project evaluations and research can be found here.
Projects are delivered through a network of 7 NI Civil Service (NICS) Departments, 22 statutory agencies, over 50 public sector and 180 community/voluntary sector organisations.
The Programme is funded jointly by the NI Executive and UK Government. For Phase 2 (2021-24), the Executive has committed £8m per year. The UK Government has committed c£5m per year plus £10m over three years, ring-fenced for the Executive Office-led Communities in Transition projects. Programme funding is ring-fenced.
Cross-Executive governance and scrutiny structures ensure oversight from project through to strategic level (overseen by the Head of the Civil Service). The Programme is also scrutinised externally by the The Independent Reporting Commission (IRC), created under the Fresh Start Agreement to monitor progress on tackling paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland.
We take an Executive-wide approach to tackling the issues of paramilitarism and organised crime.
Our Programme values are based on the Pledge of Office.
The Executive’s Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality & Organised Crime Programme is committed to promoting the use of exclusively peaceful and democratic means and upholding the rule of law across all communities, based as it is on the fundamental principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for policing and the courts.
Everyone working with this programme, is expected to support the rule of law unequivocally in word and deed and support all efforts to uphold it. The Programme is about working collectively to achieve a society free of paramilitarism; challenging all paramilitary activity and associated criminality; challenging paramilitary attempts to control communities; and supporting those who are determined to make the transition away from paramilitarism.
The engagement and participation of a broad range of stakeholders is key to the design and delivery of this programme of work. Projects are tailored to take consideration of local contexts, and to empower and support citizens.
The Programme is focused on supporting communities to build confidence in the rule of law and promote lawfulness. Innovation and creativity sit at the core of the approach to delivery.
A partnership approach with the wider voluntary and community sector and civic society is therefore at the heart of this programme, recognising that delivery on the ground needs to include those people who are most affected by these issues.
Data and research are at the heart of our programme and our work is influenced and driven by knowledge and best practice. It means we can get help to where it is needed most. We draw on the knowledge of local and international experts to give us an in-depth understanding of how to support communities.
Please note, some of these do not have a direct link to the Executive Programme on Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme but may be of interest, as they are both insightful and have helped to shape our overall thoughts and approaches.
To view all research, click here.