AIN launched a new crime-fighting agency yesterday and unveiled a revamped strategy to combat serious organised crime, which it says costs the country £24bn and represents a threat to national security.
At the heart of what the government vowed would be a tougher new approach is the National Crime Agency (NCA), dubbed Britain’s version of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which will focus on organised, economic and cyber crime, border policing and child sex abuse.
NCA director general Keith Bristow has also promised a new relationship with the private sector to combat white-collar crime, actively seeking bankers to work as unpaid “specials”.
Bristow said his new agency would transform the police approach to organised crime, and he also promised to work to better understand areas such as fraud that remain under-reported and under-recorded.
“Banks, for instance, are aware of fraud ... and for a variety of reasons may or may nor report that to law enforcement,” he said before the agency’s launch.
The NCA takes on many of the duties of its widely criticised predecessor, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) which Prime Minister David Cameron’s government decided to replace.
However the Labour Party said the NCA was just a re-branding exercise which disguised cuts to policing budgets.
“The new organisation is not strong enough to deal with the exponential growth of economic and online crime,” said Labour’s policing spokesman David Hanson.