Informed by an enhanced understanding of the evolving threat posed to the UK and its citizens from serious and organised crime, the Annual Plan sets out the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) operational priorities and how it will lead a ‘whole system’ response towards serious and organised crime.
Across the last 12 months working with partners, the NCA has “made significant progress” in the fight against serious and organised crime. Chief among developments was the launch of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), which has had an instant impact in enhancing response to economic crime, maximising the value of intelligence, prioritising threats and tasking and co-ordinating resources to ensure the greatest possible impact.
The NCA has harnessed the collective powers of law enforcement, Government, the voluntary sector and industry to co-ordinate the response needed to protect communities from the escalating and evolving threat posed by serious and organised crime.
It’s recognised that a sustained funding model for the system as a whole is essential if the NCA is to keep pace with the fast-changing nature of serious and organised crime, whose scale and complexity were highlighted by the Government’s 2018 strategy designed to address this matter.
The NCA comments: “The Government’s investment in our capacity to tackle illicit finance for 2019-2020 is a welcome start. We have a Capability Strategy in place aimed at identifying important gaps to ensure we develop a whole system response to serious and organised crime. We know from the work undertaken to date that significant further investment will be required to ensure we can deliver on our combined ambition.”
The 2019 Spending Review provides the NCA and its partners with a vital opportunity to build on the Government’s investment in the serious and organised crime system and enhance the organisation’s ability to tackle this issue.
What’s described as “an ambitious and transformative change programme” is in place for the NCA “ensuring that we have the right people, resources, equipment and skills to focus on tackling the most sophisticated offenders who cause the highest harm.”
Looking ahead to 2019-2020, stated operational priorities for the NCA in the 22-page report are to:
*enhance the intelligence picture of existing and emerging serious and organised crime threats to the UK, using the intelligence to drive, lead and support the UK’s response to serious and organised crime
*operate proactively at the high end of high risk, undertaking significant investigations resulting in offenders being brought to justice through prosecution or, if that’s not possible, disrupted through other means
*lead, task, co-ordinate and support operational activity proactively sharing intelligence, assets and capabilities with partners at the local, regional, national and, indeed, international levels
*develop and deliver specialist serious and organised crime capabilities and services where this is best done nationally; enabling their availability for the benefit of all UK law enforcement
*enhance the NCA’s capability and credibility by ensuring that the organisation equips its officers with the right skills, facilities and technology to lead the fight to cut serious and organised crime while retaining the confidence of the public
NCA director-general Lynne Owens said: “Our mission to lead the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime is critical to the UK’s national security. We continue to deliver some outstanding operational results and enable our partners to do likewise, ensuring that the public is protected.”
Owens continued: “The launch of the NECC has been an exciting step for us. Another notable success has been the Capability Strategy, enhancing our ability to tackle serious and organised crime in all its forms by providing the right response to the right partner at the right time. It’s reassuring that the funding from Government as a result of the 2019 Spending Review enables us to invest in our capacity and capability to deliver with our partners and stakeholders.”
Owens concluded: “We’re a growing organisation and we will continue to invest in our people. By continuing to drive change internally, we will better position the Agency to lead the serious and organised crime system and ensure that we have the right resources, equipment and skills to maintain our focus on tackling the most sophisticated offenders with the ability to cause the most harm.”
Response from Government
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our new strategy published last November set out how we mobilise the full force of the state and align our collective efforts to target and disrupt serious and organised crime. The NCA is at the heart of delivering this and will increasingly focus its efforts on higher priority and more complex threats, targeting and co-ordinating disruptive activity such that we have the greatest impact on the most serious criminals and groups affecting the UK.”
*Access the NCA’s website for more details