Launched on 7 October 2013, the National Crime Agency (NCA), which replaces the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), is a new law enforcement agency which will target crime involving over 37,000 criminals.
It will consist of 4,000 NCA officers who will be working on an international level, placing some officers in different countries and overseas. The Serious Organised Crime Agency previously tackled drugs, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering but will now be absorbed in the NCA.
Home Secretary Teresa May made the proposals for a single organisation in 2010, which will consist of various organisations combined to tackle serious crime. The organisations will work together sharing resources, intelligence and capabilities and specific expertise. The NCA will have a budget of approximately £500 million which, when compared to the combined total of the individual organisations which will now take part in the NCA, has been significantly reduced by 20%.
The NCA will operate under four commands:
Economic Crime Command
The Economic Crime Command will deal with issues such as fraud, counterfeit money and identity crime. It will seek to disrupt criminal activity and seize the assets and proceeds of criminals.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command will aim to eradicate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. It will work with child protection agencies in order to identify the threats posed to children and tackle offenders. It will also trace offenders who fail to comply with the notification requirements in under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Organised Crime Command
This command has the aim of targeting organised criminals which will focus on individual groups and particular types of crime. It will work with the Police and law enforcement to cut out crime of this nature.
Border Policing Command
The Border Policing command will aim to secure the UK’s borders.
The National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) will also operate alongside the above four commands which will aim to reduce cyber-enabled crime. It will work by pursuing cyber criminals at a national and international level using the internet for criminal activities and aims to disrupt criminal opportunities and prevent the vulnerable from becoming easy targets.
The NCA will work together with numerous other agencies such as specialists from the Police central e-crime unit and SOCA cyber which will provide technical and tactical investigation teams, whilst also working with partners and supporters across the UK and internationally. It will be completely looking at the wider picture of criminal activity.
Keith Bristow, the Director of the NCA, stated “there will be no-one beyond the reach of law enforcement or beyond the reach of the NCA. Those people involved in the most horrible activities can expect the most comprehensive and robust response”.