The Crime and Courts Bill 2012/2013 is currently navigating its way through Parliament having been introduced in the last Queen's Speech. This is an important piece of legislation for a counter fraud practitioner as it will see the establishment of the National Crime Agency.

The National Crime Agency will be divided into four operational commands dealing with organised crime, economic crime, border policing and child exploitation. It will also house an 'intelligence hub' that will gather, store, process and analyse operational intelligence.

According to the Home Office, organised crime is estimated to cost the UK economy in region of £20 billion to £40 billion a year. It is estimated that about 30,000 criminals across over 7,000 groups are involved in organised crime that impacts on the UK.

There have been complaints that the current response to economic crime including fraud and corruption has not been good enough. Fraud alone costs the UK £73 billion a year and the Home Office estimates that at least £10 billion of this amount has a link to organised crime.

The responsibility to tackle organised crime currently rests with SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) however SOCA will be abolished by the Crime and Courts Bill when it is enacted.

The NCA is expected to be fully operational by December next year.

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