Policing the Peace in Northern Ireland: Politics, Crime and Security After the Belfast Agreement by Jon Moran
This timely and controversial book shows how crime, and the authorities' response to crime, became central to the peace process in Northern Ireland. At times, paramilitary activity threatened to destabilise the peace in Northern Ireland after 1998, but crime was central to maintaining capacity should the groups return to war. Over time, the reduction of crime was central to these groups' own attempts to reform and official judgements as to whether they were genuinely demobilising. The state's response to crime added controversy. Police reform produced the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the new Organised Crime Task Force signalled the importance of crime control, but the Assets Recovery Agency, supposedly the 'magic bullet' for organised crime, misfired. Law enforcement was also deeply affected by the British state's response to paramilitary crime. By 2007, peace was apparently secure and paramilitaries were 'de-criminalising', but this often chaotic process was marked with questions about the British state's adherence to the rule of law. Incorporating first-hand research in the PSNI, the book will be of interest to general readers and scholars of Irish Studies, criminology, and British and comparative politics.