The Queen's Speech: National crime agency unveiled to protect UK's borders
Wednesday 09 May 2012
A US-style National Crime Agency to tackle serious and organised crime and protect the UK's borders will be enshrined in laws unveiled by the Queen today.
The agency has already been announced as a replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which itself was heralded as "Britain's FBI" when it was launched by Labour in 2006.
A Crime and Courts Bill will establish the NCA to tackle serious, organised and complex crime, enhance border security, and tackle the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and cyber crime.
The NCA, headed by former Warwickshire Police chief constable Keith Bristow, will also take in the work of the National Missing Persons Bureau.
The Government is considering whether the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Services Authority should be merged into the new agency.
Critics have warned the NCA will be too large to be effective.
The Government has said too many of the 38,000 individuals and 6,000 gangs involved in organised crime, which costs the UK up to £40 billion a year, have escaped justice.
But Labour sources said the agency was "fundamentally a reorganisation of Soca" and added they were concerned that the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was being scrapped.
They said: "According to documents from Her Majesty's Inspectorate, the maintenance and delivery of the police national computer will pass to the NCA - suggesting that rather than crime-fighting, it will have an increased administrative role previously delivered by the NPIA.
"Chief constables are very concerned that scrapping bodies like the NPIA will mean losing focus on crime-fighting and worrying about the delivery of training, IT and other services instead.
"And the Home Secretary (Theresa May) has refused in parliamentary questions to confirm the budget for the NCA. With the loss of 16,000 officers, further cuts to the reorganised body will only undermine it even further."
The sources added: "Re-announcing, for the third time, a reorganisation of our country's organised crime agency is not going to cut it for the public who are worried about the loss of their local bobbies on the beat."
The Bill will strengthen powers of UK Border Force officers and introduce the offence of drug-driving.
Powers will also be brought in to enable magistrates to dispense summary neighbourhood justice and the system for paying fines will be changed so offenders, not taxpayers, incur the cost of delaying payment.
Courts will also be reformed, enabling judges to move between courts more efficiently and allowing television cameras into courtrooms to help demystify the justice system.
The Bill will also reform judicial appointments to improve transparency and diversity.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...