Categorized | Criminal Justice

National Crime Agency

National Crime Agency

Out will go the existing Serious and Organised Crime Agency, and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, and in will come the National Crime Agency (NCA) under plans announced by the Home Office. The NCA will become fully operational from December 2013.

Last Wednesday Home Secretary Theresa May told the Commons: “Our law enforcement agencies assess that there are some 38,000 individuals engaged in organised crime, involving 6,000 criminal groups (but) law enforcement is impacting in a meaningful way on only 11% of those 6,000 organised crime groups. We must do better.” She said that for too long national and international crime was neglected and our borders became porous, and the overall effect was a fragmented and patchy law enforcement response. She added: “The National Crime Agency will be a crime-fighting organisation. It will tackle organised crime, defend our borders, fight fraud and cybercrime, and protect children and young people. Intelligence will be at the heart of what the NCA does…All other agencies will work to the NCA’s threat assessment and prioritisation, and it will be the NCA’s intelligence picture that will drive the response on the ground.” The new head of the National Crime Agency will effectively become the most senior police officer in Britain with powers to order other chief constables to undertake investigations.

The new agency will be made up of four distinct parts, or ‘commands’, dealing with organised crime, border policing, economic crime and the child exploitation and online protection centre (CEOP). The commands will be linked to the NCA’s intelligence centre to ensure information flows to and from the police and other law enforcement agencies in support of tactical operational activity. Last-minute negotiations led to the exclusion of the Serious Fraud Office from the new agency, although the NCA will have a lead role in tackling economic crime. The City of London police, the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Services Authority had already been excluded from the merger.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvonne Cooper was particularly critical of the proposal to replace the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. She told the Commons that, despite good results this year, Jim Gamble, its successful head, resigned from the agency after seeing the Government’s plans to merge CEOP with the NCA. She quoted him as saying: “I don’t believe that the rebranding or the submerging of CEOP within a far greater entity will allow the critical child protection focus that we need,” making the point the point that CEOP will also suffer a 10% per cent reduction in its budget by 2014. On the National Policing Improvement Agency she said that the Home Secretary has said nothing at all, but she is disbanding it in 2012, a year before the NCA starts.

The full text of ‘The National Crime Agency – A plan for the creation of a national crime-fighting capability’ can be found at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/nca-creation-plan?view=Binary

This post was written by:

- who has written 462 posts on Upper Case – The Anya Legal Journal.

Mike Gribbin is a retired Civil Servant with wide experience, including the drafting and implementation of Parliamentary legislation and regulations. He is the editor of “Criminal Offences Handbook”, a uniquely comprehensive guide to more than one thousand ways to fall foul of UK criminal law. He is Editor of the Upper Case Legal Journal and has been writing blog posts for the past eight years.

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