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Organised Crime (National Crime Agency)

Volume 648: debated on Monday 29 October 2018

We have made significant progress since the National Crime Agency was established in 2013. Capabilities have improved; partnership working is better; and we intervene earlier to prevent serious and organised crime. The agency has gone from strength to strength, with an impressive and sustained track record of disruptions across the full range of serious and organised crime threats.

Thames Valley police spent £7 million investigating the HBOS Reading banking scandal. Will my right hon. Friend consider establishing regional fraud squads, which would be self-funded from the proceeds of both fines and recovered funds, to properly investigate business banking fraud and other financial crimes?

My hon. Friend’s suggestion is similar to what already happens through the regional organised crime units. We have injected £140 million in grant funding to help to establish them and to ensure that we put in place the right financial investigators in each region to tackle fraud.

Organised crime crosses borders, and the National Crime Agency relies on the European arrest warrant and databases and joint operations with Europol, all of which will fall if we leave the European Union without a deal in place in April. Given that Ireland has repealed its extradition arrangements to do with the previous 1957 convention, will there be any legal way to extradite organised criminals from Dublin if there is no deal?

The right hon. Lady makes an important point about what happens post Brexit. She will of course know that the negotiations with Michel Barnier are all about issues like that. I suspect that Ireland will go along with whatever the EU’s deal is to implement, and we are seeking a security treaty so that we can put in place many of these important measures.

23. Organised crime often leads to bad drugs on our streets, and one way to stop that is through drug testing in festivals. The Minister agreed that he would write to police forces about the legality of that. What is the response? (907317)

I hear what the hon. Gentleman says. We have to stem the demand for drugs, both recreational and in respect of other users. Therefore, it is important that we work with the police to deliver that.