National Crime Agency
|National Crime Agency|
|Logo of the National Crime Agency.|
|Formed||7 October 2013|
|Annual budget||£494 million|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|National Crime Agency's jurisdiction|
|Legal jurisdiction||United Kingdom; limited in Northern Ireland|
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Elected officer responsible||Theresa May, Home Secretary|
|Agency executive||Keith Bristow, Director-General|
|Child agency||Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre|
The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a national law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom which replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency. It became fully operational on 7 October 2013 and is a non-ministerial government department. The NCA includes the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre as an individual command, and parts of the National Policing Improvement Agency. Some of the responsibilities of the UK Border Agency relating to border policing also became part of the NCA.
Like its predecessor SOCA, the NCA has been dubbed the "British FBI" by the media. The NCA Director-General, Chief Constable Keith Bristow, has the power to direct other police chiefs to concentrate their resources where necessary, effectively making him the most senior police officer in the country.
The NCA has over 4,500 officers, and an annual budget of £494 million.
The proposed agency was first publicly announced in a statement to the House of Commons by Home Secretary Theresa May on 26 July 2010. On 8 June 2011 Theresa May declared that the NCA will comprise a number of distinct operational commands: Organised Crime, Border Policing, Economic Crime and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre - and that it will house the National Cyber Crime Unit. She added that capabilities, expertise, assets and intelligence will be shared across the new agency; that each Command will operate as part of one single organisation; and that the NCA will be a powerful body of operational crime fighters, led by a senior Chief Constable and accountable to the Home Secretary. In her statement to the House of Commons, Theresa May stated that the new agency would have the authority to "undertake tasking and coordination, ensuring appropriate action is taken to put a stop to the activities of organised crime groups".
In June 2011, the coalition government announced that SOCA's operations (serious drug trafficking investigative and intelligence sections) would be merged into a larger National Crime Agency to launch in 2013.
On 23 September 2011 the Home Affairs Select Committee called for the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism role be given to the NCA when it becomes operational saying that the terrorist threat is a "national problem" and that there would be "advantages" in transferring responsibility.
Internally, the NCA is split into four individual commands: Border Policing, Economic Crime, Organised Crime and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). The National Cyber Crime Unit also operates within the NCA. The NCA has jurisdiction to carry out operations under these commands in Great Britain, but not Northern Ireland. Due to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the NCA would not be able to carry out its policing role, as it is overseen by the Home Secretary rather than a local organisation as required by the agreement. Therefore, the agency only operates as a customs and border enforcement agency in Northern Ireland.
The NCA has full operational capacity only in England & Wales. Operations in Scotland will reflect the different legal system and devolution of policing powers, with the body co-ordinating operations with Police Scotland and the Scottish Government. In Northern Ireland, the agency will carry out border and customs functions only, with its other roles left to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Consequently the NCA is subject to scrutiny by the relevant British bodies, as well as there Scottish and Northern Irish counter parts; this includes the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Irish Assembly.
Powers of Arrest
NCA Officers can be designated the powers of a constable, customs officer, immigration officer, or any combination of these three sets of powers.
Current Reported Operations
In May 2014 the NCA conducted a major operation that resulted in the seizing of more than 100kg of cocaine from a Greek bulker in Scotland. The ship had been returning from Colombia and has resulted in the arrest of three men yet to be publicly named. 
In July 2014 the NCA with partners jointly disrupted the Shylock banking trojan believed to have infected at least 30,000 computers. 
Also in July 2014 the NCA co-ordinated the arrest of 660 suspected paedophiles. 
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- Johnston, Philip (7 October 2013). "The National Crime Agency: Does Britain need an FBI?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
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- "26 July 2010". Theresa May, Home Secretary. Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 723–724.
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- Home Affairs Committee (23 September 2011). New Landscape of Policing: Volume 1 (Report). London: The Stationery Office. p. 43. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmhaff/939/939.pdf. Retrieved 12 August 2013. "Although London is a prime target for terrorist attacks, the terrorist threat is a national problem and there would be advantages in placing responsibility for counter-terrorism in the National Crime Agency"
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- Official website
- "Policing in the 21st century: reconnecting police and the people" - Home Office consultation paper
- "The National Crime Agency: A plan for the creation of a national crime-fighting ability"