NCA: untouchables the priority

The National Crime Agency will ‘relentlessly pursue’ High Priority Criminals, Lynne Owens, the Director General of the NCA has said. She was speaking at the defence and security think-tank RUSI. For the full speech visit the NCA website. Or visit the RUSI website.

She said: “Let’s be clear, these are criminals who terrorise communities and believe themselves to be untouchable. They create a misplaced sense of power, status and position often abusing vulnerable people to undertake criminal activity on their behalf, distancing themselves whilst taking most of the profit but none of the risks. They can become negative role models to some young people in the process. We will focus absolute attention on these criminals, ensuring that their risk of prosecution and disruption, through, for example, the loss of their assets, will rapidly increase when we are on their case. Let me be clear, their fear of us should be driven through three things: absolute knowledge that we have access to the best intelligence, ethically and legally obtained, that our people are determined and focused, highly trained and skilled, and that we will present unassailable evidence to courts, gathered and presented with absolute integrity, thorough knowledge of the law and precision in our attention to detail.”

On crime against business, she said that you should know who will be protecting you from fraud or cyber crime; ‘both areas that are more opaque and confusing in co-ordinated response than they should reasonably be’, she admitted. She added that she believed that UK law enforcers are more joined up than ever before – ‘and increasingly demonstrating a more powerful response across a range of threats’. She included CSE [child sexual exploitation], cyber crime, organised immigration crime and firearms. On terrorism, she said that ‘colleagues in the security service and counter terrorism policing see the relatively low availability of firearms in the UK as a major advantage compared to many other countries’.

As for the sharing of indecent images of children and ‘on contact child sexual abuse’ she said that in 2010 the NCA received about 400 referrals a month from industry in respect of indecent images of children; ‘this has risen to around 1800 referrals a month’. She admitted that cyber crime for the criminals, is a ‘relatively low-risk but high-reward activity’.

On money laundering, she pointed to some dishonest lawyers, accountants, estate agents and other professionals: “The most recent National Strategic Assessment identifies high end money laundering as a priority threat in its own right. This is simply defined as non-cash money laundering, carried out through electronic transfers, corporate structures and layers of trust and company ownership, which depends on access to the financial system and to professional skills to be effective.”

As for drug trafficking she said that the agency ‘will carry on chasing the kilos': “Drugs still remain a high volume, high frequency serious and organised crime threat with both national and local impact. It commonly cuts across other threats such as organised immigration crime, human trafficking and modern slavery and money laundering. And a significant amount of drug traffickers are involved in violent crime including the deadly use of firearms. Drugs also sit at the core of UK urban street gang culture and exploitation of the young and vulnerable.”




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