The body launched to tackle the UK’s most serious crimes will “relentlessly pursue” those responsible, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

The National Crime Agency – dubbed “the British FBI” – will tackle organised and economic crime, border policing, child protection and cyber crime.

It replaces a number of existing bodies but has significantly less funding.

Labour said it was a “rebranding exercise” that did not “live up to the home secretary’s hype”.

On the day the NCA was launched, Mrs May also revealed the government’s serious and organised crime strategy, which includes plans to ensure criminal assets cannot be hidden by spouses, that assets are frozen earlier and that prison sentences are increased for criminals who fail to pay confiscation orders.

The strategy also includes extra funding for regional police organised crime units and a crackdown on foreign organised criminals.

‘No rebrand’

The National Crime Agency, with its budget of close to £500m a year, will lead the fight against the estimated 37,000 criminals involved in organised and serious crime in the UK.

It replaces the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in April 2006.

The NCA, which will work with regional police forces in the UK and similar organisations abroad, will have 4,500 officers and aims to adopt a more visible, joined-up approach than previously.

In the first operation led by officers from the new agency, five people were arrested in morning raids in Warrington in Cheshire, Bromley in south-east London, Brentwood in Essex, Troon in South Ayrshire and Liverpool. see more

source: BBC News