Ben Wallace, the Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, has formally launched an ambitious new partnership to fight economic crime. The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) has begun its work with a clear mission to protect the public, prosperity and the UK’s reputation.
The NECC is based at the National Crime Agency’s London headquarters and includes officers from the Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the City of London Police, the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office.
As well as bringing together colleagues from law enforcement, the NECC also includes partners from Government and the private sector. The NECC will ensure that criminals defrauding British citizens, attacking UK industry and abusing UK financial services are effectively pursued, and also that the UK’s industries and Government agencies know how to prevent economic crime.
The partnership will drive how UK law enforcement tasks and co-ordinates activity, all the while ensuring the right agencies use the right tools and tactics to get the best results. The NECC will identify and prioritise the most appropriate types of investigations – whether criminal, civil or regulatory – to ensure maximum impact.
It will also promote the use of new powers such as Unexplained Wealth Orders and Account Freezing Orders to tackle illicit finance across all threat types.
National Crime Agency director general Lynne Owens said: “I’m delighted to be working closely with our partners to shape this exciting development in the fight against serious organised crime. The NECC is part of a new, whole-system approach which will significantly improve the UK’s response to serious and organised crime. Only together will we bring to justice the most harmful criminals and prevent them using or benefiting from their illicit finances. Only together will we protect the UK from economic crime.”
Ben Wallace stated: “This Government is determined to deny the most dangerous and determined criminals access to their money and assets. There’s a realistic possibility that the scale of money laundering impacting on the UK annually is at least in the tens of billions of pounds. This has a corrosive effect on our reputation and our communities. We will draw on all the powers, tools and expertise the UK has to offer to combat this. The NECC is a key element of this approach, as set out in our newly-updated Serious and Organised Crime Strategy. This innovative Centre of Excellence will bring the full force of Government, law enforcement, civil society, regulators and the private sector to bear against those engaged in economic crime. I’m delighted it is now up-and-running and look forward to seeing perpetrators tracked down, brought to justice and stripped of their assets.”