We are establishing the National Crime Agency to spearhead our response to serious, complex and organised crime. The director general of the NCA, Keith Bristow, is driving that work. Recent progress includes the establishment of a new organised crime co-ordination centre. We have also published the first genuinely cross-governmental strategy to tackle organised crime.
I congratulate Superintendent Stuart Greenfield and his team in Reading on their recent drugs bust in Orts road, which resulted in a drugs gang with a yearly turnover of £4 million being jailed for a total of 34 years. Will my hon. Friend join me in those congratulations? Does he agree that with focus, determination and resources directed at the front line, it is possible to tackle serious and organised crime and to clear up the fear in our local communities?
I am happy to congratulate the police on that work in Reading. My hon. Friend has highlighted the fact that serious and organised crime touches communities directly. The Government have recognised that in the organised crime strategy. Our focus on ensuring that organised crime is given a much higher priority has a significant effect on the crime that we see on our streets. Our work through the National Crime Agency will make an important difference and strengthen the response further.
Does the Minister expect the switch from the Serious Organised Crime Agency to the National Crime Agency to result in an increase in the level of reclaimed criminal assets? What proportion of those proceeds of crime will he demand is returned to the communities that are most directly affected by crime?
The right hon. Gentleman highlights an important point on the proceeds of crime, about which I feel strongly as a Minister. We are already driving changes to ensure that there is a focus on this matter in policing. The Serious Organised Crime Agency already has responsibility for it. I am pleased to tell him that since we got rid of the previous Government’s target-driven approach, the performance has improved.