"This new initiative will ensure that those engaging in economic criminal activity are pursued, punished and brought to justice"
Earlier this month, the UK Government alongside Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace MP, formally launched the National Economic Crime Centre, which aims to tackle and prevent economic crime.
The crime fighting centre, which will be based in the National Crime Agency headquarters in London, will mobilise the full force of the government, and align the collective efforts of numerous agencies in order to target and disrupt economic crime here in the UK.
Officers from the NCA, HM Revenue and Customs, the City of London Police, the Home Office, the Financial Conduct Authority and other institutions will work hand-in-hand throughout this new project, with a “clear mission to protect the public”.
The ambitious new partnership will ensure that not only those engaging in economic criminal activity are pursued, punished and brought to justice, but that both UK industries and government agencies alike are briefed on how to prevent such crime and can protect individuals.
The National Economic Crime Centre will place a huge importance on criminals defrauding British citizens, attacking industry and abusing financial services, and will focus their efforts on putting a stop to this type of criminal activity.
The NECC will task and coordinate activities and national responsibilities among economic crime, backed by analytic capabilities and greater intelligence, whilst also identifying and prioritising high-risk investigations and promoting the use of new powers.
There are 6 priorities under the new government-led strategy, including reducing corruption, promoting integrity, reducing insider threat in domestic sectors, improving international abilities to combat economic crime, improving the business environment globally, and strengthening the integrity of the UK as a major financial centre.
Director-General of the National Crime Agency, Lynne Owens, made a statement regarding the launch of the NECC and the measures being taken to tackle economic crime, stating “I am delighted to be working closely with our partners to shape this exciting development in the fight against serious organised crime”.
She later went on to say “the NECC is part of a new, whole-system approach, which will significantly improve the UK’s response to serious and organised crime”. Owens continued with “only together will we bring to justice the most harmful criminals and prevent them using or benefiting from their illicit finances. And only together will we protect the UK from economic crime”.
The Security and Economic Crime Minister, Ben Wallace, also spoke on the matter at hand, and said that “this government is determined to deny the most dangerous criminals access to their money and assets. There is a realistic possibility that the scale of the money laundering impacting on the UK annually is at least in the tens of billions of pounds”.
He continued with “this has a corrosive effect on our reputation and our communities”. He finished by saying that “I’m delighted [the NECC] is now up and running and look forward to seeing perpetrators tracked down, brought to justice and stripped of their assets”.
With the National Economic Crime Centre now in full force, we can expect to see a dramatic decrease in economic crime in the coming months, especially considering the NECC will be supported by the efforts of other government strategies including the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.
Matthew Lawson is a barrister based in London who specialises in Fraud & Financial Crime, Organised Crime and Regulatory & Disciplinary Proceedings. Find out more about Matthew at the Matthew Lawson Barrister website.