Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Too busy!

No recent blogs I'm afraid. Very busy at the moment with local work and as a result of a number of Force wide Reviews which I am carrying out. I'll return when life is a bit less manic.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The National Crime Agency

A few years ago I was involved in one of the most intensive investigations which I ever experienced.

Police Constable Sharon Beshenivsky was shot and killed in Bradford when she attended one Friday afternoon to the report of alarm activation. A crime gang from London fled the premises when Sharon arrived at the scene and she was killed by a bullet.

I became involved on the following day and was asked to lead a covert investigation in London. The suspect’s car had been clocked in London hours after Sharon’s murder.

I flew to Scotland Yard by helicopter and spent the following weeks working with a team of West Yorkshire detectives and the Flying Squad to track down the gang.

At the time, I was a senior investigator with West Yorkshire’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team ( H-MET ). This was made up of first class detectives and support staff. They were and still are a top rate outfit.

However, in London we were outclassed. The detectives at Scotland Yard were fantastic. Highly capable, highly specialised with more resources for covert policing than I had experienced previously. They were also better because they were playing in the premier league of crime fighting on a daily basis. They were also good company and jointly we made a good team.

Our investigation worked. The gang were identified as a result of our work and all of the gang were subsequently tracked down – one as far as Somalia.

The point of my tale is that to investigate serious and organised crime – bigger is better. The introduction of the National Crime Agency as announced this week must be a positive step. I say must because we cannot allow this opportunity to pass.

Serious and organised crime costs the country up to £40million per year but has a huge negative impact on our communities. There is no patch of the UK which is immune from the consequences of serious crime.

The threat is all the greater with increased globalisation: the unrest in the middle east has and will shift criminality as well as populations; our financial markets are liberal, our international borders are relatively relaxed and more people are vulnerable because of the economic downturn.

Organised criminals are also more organised than before, more fluid, faster acting and make better use of technology, by cyber crime for example.

I for one, welcome the NCA as a bigger more powerful body to combat organised crime. The key challenge for the NCA in my opinion will be to use the power to work with police forces allowing local policing to support the fight against organised crime and vice versa.