National Crime Agency
|National Crime Agency|
|Logo of the National Crime Agency.|
|Formed||7 October 2013|
|Annual budget||£464 million (2014/2015)|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|National Crime Agency's jurisdiction|
|Legal jurisdiction||Full in England and Wales; limited in Northern Ireland and Scotland|
|Headquarters||1-7 Old Queen St, London, United Kingdom|
|Elected officer responsible||Theresa May, Home Secretary|
|Agency executive||Keith Bristow, Director-General|
|Parent agency||Home Office|
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.
It is the UK's lead agency against organised crime; human, weapon and drug trafficking; cyber crime; and economic crime that goes across regional and international borders, but can be tasked to investigate any crime. The NCA has a strategic role in which it looks at the bigger picture across the UK, analysing how criminals are operating and how they can be disrupted. To do this it works closely with regional organised crime units (ROCU’s), the Serious Fraud Office, as well as individual police forces. It is the UK point of contact for foreign agencies such as Interpol, Europol and other international law enforcement agencies.
The Home Office estimates that there are some 37,000 people in 5,500 groups that are involved in organised crime in the UK. This causes an overall lose to the UK economy of around £24 Billion a year.
The NCA has also taken on a range of functions from the National police improvement agency that has been scrapped as part of the government's changes to policing. These include a specialist database relating to injuries and unusual weapons, expert research on potential serial killers, and the National Missing Persons Bureau. The agencies going into the NCA had a combined budget of £812m, yet the new agency only had £464m in its first year, so the new agency had already had an almost 50% cut before it had started operating.
Like its predecessor SOCA, the NCA has been dubbed the "British FBI" by the media. The NCA Director-General, Keith Bristow, has the power to direct regional 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 for 2014/2015 of £464 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. The Metropolitan police raised concerns around the cost of such a move.
The Home affairs select committee met again on 9 May 2014 to discuss counter terrorism. As a part of the report the committee reconsidered the question of moving counter terrorism responsibilities to the NCA. The committee came to conclusion that “The Metropolitan Police have a wide remit which has many complexities and the current difficulties faced by the organisation lead us to believe that the responsibility for counter-terrorism ought to be moved to the NCA in order to allow the Met to focus on the basics of policing London. The work to transfer the command ought to begin immediately with a view to a full transfer of responsibility for counter-terrorism operations taking place, for example within five years after the NCA became operational, in 2018. When this takes place, it should finally complete the jigsaw of the new landscape of policing.”
However the report acknowledges that the NCA is still a new agency and that at the moment it is not fully operational in Northern Ireland. Questions have been raised as to how effective this model would be and, with a limited budget, whether other responsibilities would suffer and not be resourced as properly as they should be. If the whole of Counter terrorism command were to transfer from the Metropolitan police to the NCA, the NCA's would receive a further 1,500 officers or more if other counter terrorism units transferred in as well. It raises the question of what other National police units could be absorbed into the NCA.
This process was put on hold on the 9th October 2014 by the Home secretary Theresa May.
On 22 May 2014 at around 22:50, NCA Officers were involved in a shootout in Tottenham. Several shots were fired, including from NCA Officers. Two men were arrested at the scene by the NCA for attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. The Metropolitan police arrived and arrested a third man for possession of a firearm. This is believed to be the first incident in which NCA officers fired shots.
On 25 May 2014 at 00:00 hrs, a second NCA operation was carried out in Tottenham, along with officers from the Metropolitan police, after the NCA received intelligence about the shoot out that had occurred 3 nights earlier. Two more men were arrested, one for attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and the other for assisting an offender, after their car was stopped by armed officers. One shot was fired by a Metropolitan police officer during the operation.
- Border Policing Command
- CEOP Command
- Economic Crime Command
- Organised Crime Command
- Specialist Capabilities
- Proceeds of Crime Centre
- Missing Persons Bureau
- UK Human Trafficking Centre
- Central Bureau
- Chemical Suspicious Activity Reports
- UK Financial Intelligence Unit
- Serious Crime Analysis Section
- National Cyber Crime Unit
- International Partnership
Board of Directors
|Director-General (Chair)||Keith Bristow, QPM|
|Deputy Director General||Phil Gormley|
|Director, Border Policing Command||David Armond|
|Director CEOP Command||Johnny Gwynne|
|Director of Intelligence||Gordon Meldrum QPM|
|Director of Investigations Command||Trevor Pearce CBE, QPM|
|Director of NOVO Transformation Programme||Tim Symington|
|Director of Organised Crime Command||Ian Cruxton|
|Director of Economic Crime Command||Donald Toon|
|Director of Corporate Services (Interim)||Sue Steen|
|Non-executive Director||Jane Furniss|
|Non-executive Director||Jonathan Evans|
|Non-executive Director||Dr Stephen Page|
|Non-executive Director||Justin Dowley|
Within the United Kingdom the NCA has full operational capacity only in England and Wales. The NCA's operations and powers in Scotland are limited to those inherited from its predecessor, the Serious Organised Crime Agency whose powers to operate in Scotland were conditional on authorisation from and/or co-operation with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (a police force which was responsible for similar matters in Scotland and which has since been subsumed into Police Scotland) or the Lord Advocate.
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. This is due to the fact that under the 1998 Good Friday agreement that led to a political settlement and power-sharing in Northern Ireland, policing was subjected to a far higher degree of community oversight and monitoring than in other parts of the UK. The chief constable and officers are responsible to the Policing Board. However the NCA answers directly to the Home Secretary, meaning there can be no local oversight or control - and nationalist parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly said that it could operate as a parallel but unaccountable police force.
Consequently the NCA is subject to scrutiny by the relevant British bodies, as well as their Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts; 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 100 kg 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. 39 of those arrested were registered sex offenders, however the majority had not previously come to the attention of law enforcement. 400 children are believed to have been protected by this operation, which included taking down several individuals who had unsupervised access to children such as doctors, teachers and care workers.
- "NCA Annual Report 2014/2015". National Crime Agency. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "National Crime Agency". GOV.UK. 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "How we are run". NCA. 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- "Police reform proposals outlined". BBC News. 26 July 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Johnston, Philip (7 October 2013). "The National Crime Agency: Does Britain need an FBI?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Hughes, Mark; Gardham, Duncan (8 June 2011). "National Crime Agency head will be 'most powerful officer in UK'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "NCA Annual Report 2014/2015". National Crime Agency. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- . Theresa May, Home Secretary. "26 July 2010". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 723–724.
- "National Crime Agency details outlined by Theresa May". BBC News. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- 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"
- "Met Police counter-terrorism role should end, MPs say". BBC News Online. BBC News. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "UK National Crime Agency head to be Keith Bristow". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- "Crime and Courts Bill receives Royal Assent". Home Office. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "NCA - How we are run". National Crime Agency. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "NCA - Working in Partnership". National Crime Agency. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Law enforcement and industry collaborate to combat Shylock malware". National Crime Agency. 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
- "UK-wide operation snares 660 suspected paedophiles". National Crime Agency. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
- 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"