A new policing organisation will take on the nation’s most serious crimes. The National Crime Agency (NCA) was launched earlier this month to replace other policing bodies. Dubbed as the ‘British FBI’, the NCA will specialise in tackling organised and economic crimes as well as child exploitation, cyber crime and border policing.
The NCA replaces the Serious Organised Crime Agency and carried out its first arrests through early morning raids across the country.
Home secretary Theresa May described the NCA as a “wholly new approach to the fight against organised crime.” She also said the new police force will be “ensuring the relentless disruption of organised criminals.”
The launch of the NCA was also accompanied by government plans to fight organised crime which include ensuring criminal assets can no longer be hidden by spouses, assets are frozen earlier and prison sentences are made longer for criminals who fail to pay confiscation orders.
Opponents of the new police body claim the NCA is merely a rebrand. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said, although the NCA is “important and we wish it well, this is rebranding from existing organisations and, unfortunately, with a 20% budget cut.”
Concerns over the NCA’s budget were also raised by the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, who said: “the organisations going into the NCA have a combined budget of £812m, yet the new agency will only have £473.9m next year.
“The Home Office needs to account for where this money has gone.”
Answering directly to the Home Secretary, the NCA will have around 4,000 officers and will have significant powers in commanding police forces across England and Wales to provide assistance and carry out policing operations.
The agency will have limited powers in Northern Ireland and will only carry out border and customs functions.