NI: David Ford meets with new crime agency head

Justice Minister David Ford
Justice Minister David Ford

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford has met with Lynne Owens, the new director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA).

During a meeting in Belfast, Mr Ford welcomed Ms Owens to her new post and discussed the ongoing work of the NCA in Northern Ireland as an integral part of the Organised Crime Task Force, which is chaired by the Minister.

Mr Ford said: “I want to start by paying tribute to Keith Bristow for his work and determination to secure a fuller role for the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland while reflecting the lead role of PSNI and our accountability structures.

“I welcome the opportunity to meet Lynne Owens in her first weeks in office. I am pleased that she has made a visit here an early priority and I wish her well in her new post.”

He added: “The fact that the National Crime Agency has now been fully operational in Northern Ireland since May of last year is a major boost in the fight against organised crime. It is making a significant contribution in many areas.

“This comes from its ability to tackle serious and organised crime threats across boundaries including, for instance, in relation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and drugs, meaning the most serious criminals can be pursued wherever they are. It also has expertise in bringing civil recovery proceedings.

“An important element is that its engagement either supports the PSNI or releases the PSNI to conduct other investigations.”

Ms Owens said: “The NCA wants to contribute to the protection of citizens across the United Kingdom. I believe it has a significant role to play here. It is already involved with PSNI and tackling serious and organised crime across a number of fronts.”

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