herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Bullet-proof vests for all Customs staff

The Revenue is handing out scores of extra bullet-proof vests to its Customs officers in new measures to protect them.

Up to now, only the Customs drugs units officers were given the jackets -- but now every enforcement officer will wear one.

The Office of Revenue Commissioner (ORC) is buying 82 additional jackets for staff.

An ORC spokesperson told the Herald: "They were initially used by the drugs units in Customs, but now all enforcement staff like those going out on checkpoints, and for examination of suspect goods, will wear them.

"They're required for enforcement operations for health and safety reasons."

Revenue's Customs Service is engaged in the surveillance of the frontiers and preventing the importation of prohibited drugs, illicit medicines, illicit tobacco and arms smuggling.

The spokesperson added: "It also carries out anti-evasion operations against the black economy."

Seized

A number of ballistic vests are currently in use by Revenue's Customs Service, and have been for several years, and their use is dictated by operational requirements.

Since 2005 nearly €5m has been seized from criminals who were caught attempting to move money out of the country.

And a total of almost €9m in cash was seized by Customs officers at airports and ports from people attempting to board flights or ferries.

Customs officers and gardai arrested 10 people last week and seized cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and cash as part of an operation targeting Irish and international smugglers operating in the Cork and Kerry region.

The seizures, carried out in the last week in August, led to the arrests of several people believed by gardai and Customs to have been selling drugs and contraband in Cork and Kerry, or using Cork as an entry route into the State.

On the night of August 30, Customs officers working as part of an intelligence-led operation stopped a car in the village of Barraduff, near Killarney, Co Kerry, and found 94,000 cigarettes worth €41,000 in the vehicle.

hnews@herald.ie

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