National Crime Agency fully operational in Northern Ireland

20 May 2015

That was the message from Justice Minister, David Ford, today as he met with PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton and Keith Bristow, Director General of the NCA to discuss the operational ‘go-live’ of the NCA here.


David Ford said: “From today the NCA will be able to exercise its full range of powers in Northern Ireland. As Justice Minister and as Chair of the Organised Crime Taskforce, I welcome this significant milestone. It is important of course that it has appropriate accountability within our local framework and it has that with significant roles for the Board and the Police Ombudsman.


“As a United Kingdom wide organisation the NCA has a level of resources and specialisation that cannot be achieved at regional level. There is no doubt that additional pressure has been put on the PSNI because they have not been able to use the NCA’s considerable expertise. That will no longer be the case.


“I know that a considerable amount of work has been undertaken over the past two years to bring us to this point and I commend all those involved.”


PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “I welcome the additional capacity and expertise which the NCA will bring to Northern Ireland to help police officers keep people safe. As the NCA becomes fully operational, we will be working closely with our new colleagues to ensure opportunities are maximised to tackle serious and organised crime and apprehend offenders. At the same time, I will ensure that the accountability arrangements being agreed with the Policing Board are factored into every aspect of operational activity to deliver both public confidence and community safety.”


NCA Director General Keith Bristow said: "We have consistently said the National Crime Agency is committed to protecting the people of Northern Ireland against serious and organised criminals as we do in the rest of the UK. Now with the legislative process complete in Northern Ireland we will work with our PSNI and law enforcement colleagues and get on with doing our duty."