Tuesday, 6 November 2018

National Crime Agency (NCA)

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is undertaking an investigation into Better for the Country Ltd, Leave.EU, Arron Banks, Elizabeth Bilney and others - previous post and also see - Statement Electoral Commission 1 November 2018 and the NCA statement.  The investigation is into suspected criminal offences committed during the EU referendum.  But what is the NCA and how does it relate to other law enforcement bodies in the UK.

England has 38 Police Forces, Wales has 4, Scotland has Police Scotland and Northern Ireland has the Police Service of Northern Ireland - Police Forces.  In addition there are 4 National special police forces - British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence Police and a National Police Air Service.

Those Forces
are in addition to the Security Service (MI5) with its mission "to keep the country safe" and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) which works "secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and gathering intelligence that helps to make the UK safer and more prosperous."    Those services have a statutory basis - Security Service Act 1989 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994, respectively.  Government Communications HQ is based in Cheltenham and is one of the UK's security and intelligence agencies, working with partners in MI5 and SIS.

The NCA was established in 2013 by the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government.  The legislation is the Crime and Courts Act 2013 Part 1.   This legislation abolished the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) which existed from 1 April 2006 until 7 October 2013.  SOCA was established by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

The Agency is headed by a Director General- currently Lynne Owens CBE QPM MA - and there is a board of 7 chaired by the Director General.  The NCA operates across the whole of the UK.  Its work is normally centred on: 
  • Child Sexual Exploitation - e.g. Operation Stovewood which has led to 7 men being convicted of a total of 24 child sexual abuse offences, including rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment, as part of the National Crime Agency’s investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham.
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
  • Illegal Firearms
  • Cyber Crime
  • Money laundering.
Recently. a National Economic Crime Centre has commenced work and this involves NCA officers.

Given the usual remit of NCA work it is interesting that Better for the Country, Leave.EU, Arron Banks, Elizabeth Bilney and others are under investigation by the agency.  The Agency statement comment - "While electoral law offences would not routinely fall within the NCA’s remit, the nature of the necessary inquiries and the potential for offences to have been committed other than under electoral law lead us to consider an NCA investigation appropriate in this instance."

The powers of the NCA Director General are set out in section 9 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

 
The powers of other NCA Officers are as set out in section 10 -






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