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NCA seeks budget increase to combat serious crime

NCA director general says a £2.7 billion investment in law enforcement is needed to combat serious organised crime (SOC) over the next three years. 

NCA seeks budget increase to combat serious crime
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • May 16, 2019
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There are at least 181,000 offenders linked to serious and organised crime in the UK, the National Crime Agency has revealed, as it launched its most comprehensive study yet of the deadliest threats facing the nation.

A £2.7 billion investment in law enforcement is needed to combat SOC over the next three years, NCA director general Lynne Owens said this week as she released the 2019 National Strategic Assessment (NSA).

The director general said the agency – which leads the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime – requires an additional £650 million in annual funding to spearhead the fight. 

"Serious and organised crime in the UK is chronic and corrosive, its scale is truly staggering.
 
"It kills more people every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined. SOC affects more UK citizens, more frequently than any other national security threat. And it costs the UK at least £37 billion a year – equivalent to nearly £2,000 per family," said Ms Owens. 

She judged that although some may think that the UK cannot afford to provide more investment, the extra budget funds would enable the agency to meet growing demand and to build capabilities in areas such as digital forensics, covert surveillance, financial investigations and other critical areas.

The agency’s sixth NSA is said to be the most wide-ranging and incisive yet. It draws on information and intelligence from more sources than ever before including UK law enforcement, government departments, the intelligence community and the private and voluntary sectors.
 
As well as showing the spectrum of offences being committed, the NSA shows the traditional idea of organised crime groups (OCGs) is becoming old-fashioned. 

The agency noted that criminal groups continue to exploit local vehicles by engaging the services of complicit accountants, solicitors and those working in money service businesses. The use of the dark web and encryption to cloak offending have also grown significantly, with cryptocurrencies increasingly used to launder dirty money, said Ms Owens. 

The NCA disclosed that financial losses from fraud soared by an incredible 32 per cent between April and September 2018, with a total of 3.6 million incidents of fraud reported in England and Wales in 2018. 

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