National Crime Agency: Northern Ireland

Home Office written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 3 February on the National Crime Agency, when they expect that Agency to be fully operational in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The National Crime Agency (NCA) operates UK-wide, including in Northern Ireland, and provides support to its partner agencies there in relation to customs and immigration matters whilst continuing to exchange information with the PSNI. The NCA has, to date, been unable fully to target serious and organised crime groups in Northern Ireland involved in activities which require policing powers to tackle them.

The draft Crime and Courts Act 2013 (National Crime Agency and Proceeds of Crime) (Northern Ireland) Order 2015, was laid before Parliament on 29 January 2015. It makes provision for the NCA to operate in Northern Ireland with full powers including the ability to recover criminal assets in relation to offences that are devolved, together with the ability to request the recovery of assets overseas in civil recovery cases.

This will make Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK a safer place and means the most serious criminals can be pursued wherever they are. The Order details commencement of the provisions, some of which will come into force the day after it is made, including the extension to Northern Ireland of all of the relevant civil recovery provisions relating to freezing and recovery orders. The related civil recovery investigation powers will require further secondary legislation relating to a Code of Practice.

A number of provisions that relate to the NCA’s operational use of constable powers and covert techniques, which will be subject to a Memorandum of Understanding, will come into force at the end of two months beginning with the day on which the Order is made. The Order may not be made until it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

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