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Director General of National Crime Agency (Reappointment of Lynn Owens)

Volume 678: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2020

I have reappointed Lynne Owens to be the Director General of the National Crime Agency for a further two years from January 2021. The Director General holds an extremely important position in UK Law Enforcement, leading and co-ordinating the response to serious and organised crime (SOC). SOC affects more UK citizens than any other national security threat and costs us more than £37 billion every year.

It is customary to advertise the post of DG NCA to attract the very best talent available from as wide a field as possible—and, under normal circumstances, I would pursue this approach. However, this year is different for two important reasons. First, the UK is facing a threat unparalleled in peacetime from the coronavirus pandemic, and the NCA is playing a key part by working closely with its law enforcement partners to ensure that we are stopping the organised criminals who despicably try to use the crisis to their advantage.

Second, the way in which the UK tackles SOC is at a crucial stage in its development. The independent review of SOC conducted by Sir Craig Mackey has concluded, and the findings are being explored by the Home Office. The Government will announce their response later in the year, but developing the capabilities and role of the NCA will be key to that response. The NCA must continue with its excellent work, but it must also strive to develop and improve to ensure we stay ahead of the threat from SOC.

There is an overwhelming need, therefore, for an experienced leader at the NCA to provide stability while we tackle the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure effective delivery of this Government’s manifesto commitment to strengthen the Agency. I have no doubt that in Lynne’s reappointment we will continue to see the work of a fantastic leader. During a career in law enforcement over 30 years, she has built up a wealth of experience holding a variety of different positions from frontline policing to Chief Constable of Surrey and, of course, Director General of the NCA.