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HMICFRS Inspection Report: National Crime Agency’s Effectiveness at Dealing with Corruption

Volume 734: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2023

The National Crime Agency (NCA) leads and co-ordinates the overall law enforcement system response to Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) across the UK. It manages intelligence and information requiring the highest levels of security, with the power to task law enforcement and the capability to address the impact of SOC and counter corruption.

This is the 11th HMICFRS inspection of the NCA and examines how effective the NCA is at dealing with corruption, prejudicial and improper behaviour. This included the vetting of staff, its capability to prevent and counter corruption and insider threats, and its ability to tackle behaviours that discriminate.

I have asked HMICFRS to publish the report. It will be published today and will be available online at I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The inspection found that the NCA takes these matters seriously, with a robust vetting process in place and an enhanced apparatus established to tackle corruption and promote professional standards. The report also concludes that the NCA has a more diverse workforce than ever. However, the Agency must continue to promote diversity, particularly in its leadership, as well as its operational units, where a lack of diversity was found. The NCA also needs to strengthen its ability to tackle insider threats and address prejudicial and concerning behaviours.

The Inspectorate raised concerns that gender-based discrimination and casual sexism continue. A zero-tolerance approach must be instilled across the NCA to ensure such behaviours are tackled and misconduct appropriately managed. I expect the Agency to demonstrate leadership in putting an end to any form of discrimination, and to put the appropriate practices and approaches in place to robustly address the concerns raised by the Inspectorate.

The inspection also identified a need to consider possible changes to legislation to clarify and strengthen the Agency’s professional standards, and to allow the NCA to have a Barred List established to ensure those staff who are dismissed for misconduct are prevented from working elsewhere in law enforcement. I am clear that the requisite changes should be made at the earliest opportunity.

The Inspectorate has made 19 separate recommendations which will help ensure that the NCA’s approach to corruption, vetting and standards is more robust and will deliver a safe and secure environment and positive culture for all staff to work in, in turn, helping to increase public confidence in law enforcement agencies.