Nikki Holland probe 'widened out' but no end date confirmed as both NCA and IOPC investigate
A MISCONDUCT probe into one of the country's most senior organised crime fighters has been widened out, with no end date confirmed for the "difficult" probe, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.
In March 2022 it emerged that Nikki Holland, (above) Director of Investigations at the National Crime Agency (NCA), and a junior colleague had been suspended after an investigation was launched into allegations of data protection breaches, bullying and misuse of public funds.
She has been suspended with "existing contractual terms" for at least a year since the probe began.
The post of Director of Investigations attracts a salary of around £130,000, according to NCA published remuneration figures.
The investigation is set to continue with no end date as yet after "difficulties" complicated it and meant it had to be split into two linked enquiries, according to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).
An NCA spokesman said: "We’re not in a position to comment on the duration of an IOPC investigation. Officers remain on their existing contractual terms while suspended."
The NCA, often dubbed Britain's FBI, referred the case to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), but more than a year on the probe has yet to conclude and has been expanded.
An IOPC spokesman said: “Our independent investigation into the allegations relating to the conduct of a senior NCA officer and another officer with the agency continues.
“In light of additional information uncovered as part of the investigation, we have redetermined that four of the allegations should be subject to a managed investigation, carried out by the NCA under our direction.
"Due to some of the practical difficulties involved, we decided the NCA was better placed to conduct this element of the investigation.
“Our independent investigation into the other allegations continues and the final decision will be taken by the IOPC in respect of both the independent and managed investigations.
"The IOPC’s investigation includes allegations of data protection breaches, bullying and misuse of public funds."
It is not clear when the probes are likely to end.
Ms Holland was at the helm of Operation Venetic, the UK's biggest ever operation against drug and money laundering gangs, following the French and Dutch interception of the encrypted mobile phone system EncroChat in 2020.
Thousands of suspects were arrested with hundreds of prosecutions, many ongoing, following.
During legal arguments in connection with one EncroChat case at Manchester Crown Court last Month (March 27) a defence barrister said Ms Holland would not be giving evidence in connection with how the NCA obtained the data from the phones, as she had been "dismissed."
However, she remains listed as Director of Investigations on the NCA website and the agency and IOPC both confirmed no one has yet been dismissed as part of the investigations.
The barrister later said he was mistaken with what he told the court.
Ms Holland, who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2019 New Year’s Honours, joined the NCA in 2017 after after 28 years with Merseyside Police where she rose to deputy chief constable.
She has also been at the forefront of the battle against county lines drugs gangs and has responsibility at the agency for UK firearms strategy, child protection and exploitation and complex financial crime.
An NCA spokesman said: "There’s no dismissal of a senior officer to report."
UK police forces publish details of upcoming and concluded misconduct cases against officers, however, the NCA's are shrouded in secrecy.
The spokesman added: "The NCA is a civil service organisation not a police force, our officers are civil servants so the rules differ. We don’t publish details of misconduct hearings and they aren’t open to the public."