Campbell says NCA operation in NI vital in light of wider threats

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Home Secretary Theresa May has agreed with East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell that a new UK-wide police superforce to tackle organised crime, strengthen borders, fight fraud and protect children should be allowed to operate in Northern Ireland.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has already succeeded the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in the rest of the United Kingdom but has been blocked here by Sinn Féin and the SDLP.

Speaking at Westminster Mr Campbell referred to the non-operation of the NCA in Northern Ireland in terms of the wider terrorist and security threat to the United Kingdom.

He said: “The Home Secretary referred to the capabilities of the people keeping us safe diminishing. In the context of the security of the people of the entirety of the United Kingdom, how central does she think the National Crime Agency is and how important it is that it is fully operational in all of the United Kingdom, particularly in Northern Ireland?”

Mrs May replied: “I believe that the NCA does play an important role. Obviously, its clear focus is on serious and organised crime, but it is also focused on economic crime, border crime, child exploitation and online protection.

“It is a valuable agency. In the operations it has undertaken, it has already shown the benefit of having set it up.

“I consider that it would be appropriate and beneficial if it were possible for the agency to operate in Northern Ireland, as it does in other parts of the United Kingdom.”

Speaking during debates on the Crime and Courts Bill, which established the NCA two years ago SDLP MP Mark Durkan expressed concern that creating the force could lead to the appointment of special constables in Northern Ireland for the first time since the B Specials.