Serious & organised criminals were banged up for total of 2,379 years in 2021/22 says new NCA boss


ACTING head of the National Crime Agency (NCA) Graeme Biggar CBE (above) has been appointed by the Home Secretary Priti Patel as its permanent Director General... after a process that took nearly a year.

Mr Biggar has led the NCA on an interim basis since October 2021, ten months ago.

The deadline for applications for the five-year post ended on January 3 and it has taken seven months from then to make the appointment.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “A fair and open recruitment campaign was run to make the best possible appointment to this vital role.

“Recent events have demonstrated how pivotal the NCA is in protecting the public from organised crime and national security threats.”

An NCA spokesman said: "During which period the agency has reported record disruptions against key threats, and targeted an increasing proportion of those criminals causing the most harm.

"He has now been appointed on a five year term following an open and fair recruitment process."

Mr Biggar will lead the Agency’s drive to advance the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime; a national security threat that includes the highest harm and most complex child sexual abuse, people smuggling, cyber crime, illicit finance and drugs and firearms trafficking.

The Director General takes charge of the NCA’s 6,000 officers based in the UK and overseas, and is responsible for setting the

agency’s operational priorities, ensuring it is operating effectively, and shaping the entire UK law enforcement response to serious and organised crime.

The NCA said in 2021/22 its activity has:

*Delivered prison sentences for criminals totalling more than 2,379 years;

*Safeguarded 1,284 children in the UK from sexual abuse;

*Seen the freezing or seizure of £358 million in criminal assets;

*Resulted in the arrest of 244 people smuggling offenders outside of the UK;

*Led to the seizure of 241 tonnes of class A drugs;

*Led the implementation of a cross-law enforcement ransomware threat group, protecting the UK economy from losses of at least £600 million.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Serious and organised crime gangs and violence bring misery to our streets. As well as exploiting children and the vulnerable, this criminality also costs more than £37 billion a year to our economy.

“Going after the criminals who profit from human misery, abuse our children and citizens and show no regard for our borders and laws is what I and Graeme continue to drive

“From dismantling people smuggling networks through the biggest illegal migration law enforcement operation across Europe to bringing the monsters who sexually abuse children in the UK and abroad to justice, Graeme and his remarkable NCA team have an outstanding track record of delivery.

“I have put the right resources and skills into the NCA, including increases to the Agency’s budget and additional resources to tackle new and emerging threats. The UK’s National Crime Agency is world leading and in a formidable position to tackle some of the most complex global threats we face and to help make our streets and our country safer.”

Mr Biggar said: “I am delighted to have been asked to lead the National Crime Agency. The Agency’s mission - to protect the public from serious and organised crime- has never been more important.

"Serious and organised crime is chronic, corrosive and complex. The people and groups behind it have global reach, are technically sophisticated and digitally-enabled.

"In response, the Agency must focus upstream, overseas and online – while continuing to work with our partners systematically to target criminals, bring them to justice and reduce the harm they cause.

"It has been a privilege to lead our officers over the past ten months. I will continue to support them in protecting the public while ensuring we operate with the highest integrity and standards.”

Prior to his role at interim Director General, Graeme served as Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) at the NCA between 2019 and 2021.

He has also served as Director for National Security at the Home Office, as Chief of Staff to the Defence Secretary and has held senior positions in the Ministry of Defence and other Government departments.

Graeme helped to shape the response to the 2017 terrorist attacks, the Salisbury poisoning attack, and as Director of National Security in the Home Office, oversaw implementation of the Investigatory Powers Act.

The appointment comes just over three weeks after Suffolk Police Chief Constable Steve Jupp (above) was appointed as the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Lead for Serious Organised Crime (SOC).

Steve will coordinate national police action to tackle criminal gangs, working closely with the NCA.

He will be responsible for heading up and delivering the strategic policing plan to support the national priorities led and set by the NCA in tackling serious and organised crime. He will oversee the coordination and strategic development of the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) network on behalf of all police forces and the wider SOC System, in line with the vision set out in the ROCU Strategy 2030.

Steve is taking up this new policing role on a full-time basis funded by the Home Office and the NPCC. He will work closely with the NCA, police forces and a wide range of organisations with a role and expertise in tackling serious and organised crime.

Chief Constable Steve Jupp said today: “I am honoured to be taking on such an important role, which goes to the heart of protecting people and keeping our communities safe. My career spans many different elements of crime, including serious and organised crime, and I am committed to delivering a consistent and robust response to the significant threat it poses to the UK public.

“I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the NCA, police forces and partners to ensure we do our very best to protect our communities from organised criminals.”

Mr Biggar, said: “Serious and organised crime is a corrosive threat to national security. In leading the UK response, the NCA is clear that having the necessary focus, resources and capabilities at all levels of law enforcement is essential to meeting the challenge.

“This dedicated NPCC role will help to drive serious and organised crime priorities throughout policing, ensuring our collective response is most effective in protecting the UK’s people and economy.

“I welcome Steve to his new position and look forward to working with him."

Steve’s 35-year career has focused on tackling the threat of serious and organised crime. Starting his career in the Metropolitan Police Service where his focus was on tackling serious and organised crime. In 1993, Steve moved onto the Regional Crime Squad, again focussing on serious and organised crime. In 1999 Steve returned to the MPS during which he developed the MPS response to armed robbery and investigated the London bombings.

In 2009 he transferred to West Midlands Police where, as Head of Crime, he had responsibility for all levels of criminal investigations. In 2013 he went to Nottinghamshire Constabulary as an Assistant Chief Constable where he was responsible for crime investigation and reduction.

Steve joined Suffolk Constabulary in April 2015 in the role of Deputy Chief Constable, and was promoted to Chief Constable in April 2019.

Minister for Crime, Policing and Probation, Tom Pursglove, said: “I welcome the appointment of Steve Jupp as the NPCC’s new full-time Lead for Serious Organised Crime.

“Criminal networks are devastatingly corrosive to our society and make the lives of individuals and communities a misery. They threaten our national security and undermine the safety of our citizens.

“Bringing a wealth of experience and dedication, Steve will work with the Home Office, NCA, police forces and partners, to crack down on the criminal gangs that often drive the most visible and harmful types of crime.”

NPCC Crime Committee Chair Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, said:

“As the serious organised crime lead, Steve will work alongside the NCA, police and partners to galvanise the whole system’s response to the considerable threat of serious and organised crim.

“Steve is an experienced police officer. He has spent much of his career tackling serious organised crime and brings the experience of leading a police force as a chief constable. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Steve.”

Association for Police and Crime Commissioners Lead Serious and Organised Crime, PCC Donna Jones, said: “I’m delighted that Steve has accepted the role as the National SOC lead. Steve has worked with me in this space for the last 12 months. He is a very experienced senior strategic policing lead and will be excellent in leading the fight against Serious and Organised Crime, both locally and nationally alongside the NCA.”

Steve is expected to take up the post full time on the 3rd October 2022 after leaving Suffolk Police.