I have selected Chief Constable Lynne Owens to be the new director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA). She has more than 25 years’ experience in a variety of policing roles including key front-line experience and working on the most complex national investigations and operations. She has a strong track record of engaging teams and working in collaboration with partners, and most importantly she has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. I am confident she is the right candidate to lead the NCA through the next phase of its development, leading and coordinating the national law enforcement response to serious and organised crime.
The director general leads and co-ordinates the whole of the UK law enforcement effort against serious and organised crime, a major national security threat. That threat costs the UK more than £24 billion a year and is varied, complex and changing rapidly. The NCA has a stronger mandate than any previous organisation, including the power to task UK police and other law enforcement agencies in order to align the UK’s response against the highest priority threats, vulnerabilities and organised crime groups.
The NCA is now at a vital stage of its development and the next director general must set the future direction of the NCA, building on the strong foundation of the work of the outgoing Director General Keith Bristow, who retires shortly. The NCA must continue to develop the capabilities and relationships necessary to combat the threat from serious and organised crime, working in partnership with local and international law enforcement bodies to maximise the NCA’s national and international reach.
Keith Bristow has been a dynamic first director general of the National Crime Agency and I am grateful for his hard work and commitment to making the UK a more hostile environment for serious and organised criminals to operate. He has not shied away from exposing the nature and scale of the threat we face, and he has materially changed how we collectively tackle the threat from serious and organised crime.
Lynne Owens will ensure that the NCA continues to be at the forefront of work to tackle the full range of serious and organised crime threats, including cybercrime; child sexual abuse; firearms; modern slavery; organised immigration crime; drugs trafficking; money laundering; fraud; and bribery and corruption.
Lynne Owens is currently chief constable of Surrey Police and I expect her to take up post early next year. If there is a short gap, in the interim, I intend to appoint David Armond, the current deputy director general, as acting director general.