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May outlines new crime agency remit

A US-style National Crime Agency will be set up to tackle serious and organised crime and protect the UK's borders, Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce.

The new agency will replace the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which itself was heralded as "Britain's FBI" when it was launched by Labour in 2006.

The National Crime Agency (NCA), which is due to come into force from 2013, will also include a border policing command and take in the work of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

But Ceop will retain its "unique brand, model and operational control", as well as a separate budget, following initial concerns that its work would be harmed by being part of a larger agency with different priorities.

The launch of the NCA is part of the most radical shake-up of policing in 50 years which will see directly-elected police and crime commissioners replace the existing police authorities from next May.

The Government has said too many of the 38,000 individuals and 6,000 groups involved in organised crime, which costs the UK up to £40 billion a year, have escaped justice.

Critics have warned the NCA will be too large to be effective, but the Home Office says it will be a "powerful new body of operational crime fighters" that will "strengthen the fight against the serious and organised criminality that threatens the safety and security of the UK".


From Belfast Telegraph