The National Crime Agency (NCA) has been awarded more than £8 million as part of the Government’s investment in the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime. As part of the Police Transformation Fund, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved up to £70 million in 2018-2019 to boost law enforcement’s capacity to deal with major threats.
The NCA-led projects that will receive funding include the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), the National Assessment Centre (NAC) and the National Data Exploitation Centre (NDEC). The Joint Operations Team – comprising NCA and GCHQ officers tasked with tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation – will also receive financial support from Westminster.
The threat from serious and organised crime is changing and evolving at breakneck speed. It’s increasing in both volume and complexity as criminals become more innovative and elusive and advancing technology gives those same criminals new ways in which to commit and conceal their crimes.
Remaining one step ahead of the criminals
Steve Rodhouse, director general (operations) at the NCA, explained: “Today, criminals can share indecent images of children, sell drugs or hack into national infrastructures from anywhere in the world. They can communicate covertly with other criminals across the globe through encrypted services and move their illicit finances from one jurisdiction to another online through the use of cryptocurrencies. To fully protect the public, the NCA must stay ahead of the criminals, develop our existing skills and share information and expertise in a way that delivers the biggest impact.”
Rodhouse went on to state: “Tackling the breadth of serious and organised crime requires a whole-system response, collaborating with partners across law enforcement, Government bodies, the public, private and third sectors in the UK and internationally. This additional funding will help us to police the UK more efficiently and effectively, and allow us to respond to the changing nature of crime.”
Strengthening intelligence capabilities
The four national NCA projects receiving funding will provide the tools for partners across law enforcement to collectively strengthen intelligence capabilities. By upgrading the way in which the NCA gathers and uses intelligence, the organisation will be able to keep ahead of organised crime groups and their activities, preventing crime before it happens.
The NDEC has been awarded £4 million, the NECC £1.5 million and the NAC £500,000. £2.2 million of funding has also been awarded to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.
Funding to combat economic crime
The City of London Police, the national lead force for force, has secured £6.1 million from the Government to fund several projects that will help improve the current policing response to economic crime.
A national Task Force for more integrated regional working on fraud and a direct-entrant recruitment campaign for fraud detectives will help to increase capacity in the system. The project will also put emphasis on building capabilities through training and accreditation for specialist fraud detectives across England and Wales, making use of the City of London Police’s already established Economic Crime Academy.
A second project will improve the way that police forces receive information from Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. The project will integrate the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s analytics platform with force record management systems, thereby reducing the need to re-key data.
This initiative will ensure greater cohesion between the national reporting service for fraud and cyber crime, speeding up the process of sharing data and allowing outcomes to be automatically captured. It will also offer forces an enhanced capacity to provide improved services to victims by linking all crime to a victim not just those which are typically recorded at a local level.
Multi-year funding has been awarded in support of this project in recognition of the scale of the task.
Upskilling police officers
The City of London Police’s national co-ordinator for economic crime, Commander Karen Baxter, said: “We’re very pleased to have received this funding from the Home Office. The money will allow us to fulfil an aspiration that the City of London Police has had for a long time of upskilling police officers in the sphere of combating economic crime and building fraud capabilities across the country. The results of this project will allow us to transform police forces’ approach to fraud and help to tackle this type of crime.”
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, responded: “Criminals don’t stand still, and neither should our police forces. We’re determined to support police leaders in creating a modern, agile and responsive police service. The Police Transformation Fund is delivering real change in policing, and this new funding will continue to help forces improve efficiencies and tackle threats like serious, organised and economic crime.”