National Crime Agency

The National Crime Agency (NCA) will tackle organised crime, defend our borders, fight fraud and cyber crime, and protect children and young people.

Head of the agency

On 10 October 2011, Theresa May announced that Chief Constable Keith Bristow will be the first head of the agency. Chief constable of Warwickshire Police since 2006, Mr Bristow has experience of leading organised crime investigations at both force level and nationally. You can read more about this appointment.

The vision

The NCA will fight crime. It will tackle serious and complex crime and bring organised criminals to account, in partnership with local and international forces.


As an internationally recognised agency, the NCA will confront the serious and organised criminality that threatens the safety and security of the UK and its economic wellbeing, conducting multi-agency operations to achieve maximum disruption. Accountable to the Home Secretary and underpinned by the strategic policing requirement, the NCA will work with police and crime commissioners, chief constables, devolved administrations and others, genuinely connecting activity from the local to the international – in country, at the border and overseas.  


The NCA will collect and analyse its own and others’ intelligence, building and using a comprehensive strategic and tactical picture of serious and organised criminality.

It will harness the latest technology to ensure that, subject to robust safeguards, its intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities match the threat posed by criminals who seek constantly to evade detection. The NCA will prioritise action and for the first time, will organise and coordinate the whole operational law enforcement effort against crime.

Specialist capabilities

The NCA will have the specialist operational capabilities that add value to those in police forces and other law enforcement partners, such as those working on cyber crime, economic and environmental crime, human, wildlife and drug trafficking and child exploitation. Collectively these specialist capabilities will enhance the fight against serious and organised crime.


The leadership and culture of the NCA will reflect its crime-fighting nature. The head of the NCA will be a senior chief constable and the NCA will be open, collaborative and non-bureaucratic. From the outset, a key objective will be to demonstrate its impact publicly including to local communities.

The National Crime Agency plan, published on 8 June 2011, sets out in more detail the vision for the NCA.

Creation of the agency

The first details of plans to create a National Crime Agency appeared in the 'Policing in the 21st Century' consultation, which was held in 2010. That consultation set out the need to create a powerful new body of operational crime fighters, including a Border Police Command, which would be led by a senior chief constable and would harness and building on the intelligence, analytical and enforcement capabilities of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

The NCA Plan set the vision of the new agency at the centre of the reformed policing landscape.
The NCA will:

  • spearhead the UK's fight against serious and organised crime
  • strengthen policing at the border
  • ensure local policing effectvely links to the work of national agencies and action overseas 

Theresa May announces the creation of the new National Crime Agency: see Theresa May's announcment on YouTube, or read the transcript of the video

Related documents

Policing in the 21st Century

National security strategy

Strategic defence and security review

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and the National Crime Agency

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