- Officials say sending text messages to late-payers of tax led to a five per cent rise in payments
The NCA published a blueprint for getting to grips with serious and organised crime, child exploitation and immigration offending
The guilty will be publicly named and shamed and pictures will be released of their asset
Gangsters will be sent text messages ordering them to pay back their ill-gotten gains or face jail sentences.
The new National Crime Agency wants to use ‘behavioural insight techniques’ against criminals who refuse to obey confiscation orders.
This will include sending ‘targeted communication’ to Mr Bigs who are refusing to hand back their stolen millions.
Officials say that a pilot by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs found sending text messages to late-payers of tax led to a five per cent rise in payments.
The NCA, which officially began work yesterday, published a blueprint for getting to grips with serious and organised crime, child exploitation and immigration offending.
Ministers want the organisation – dubbed Britain’s FBI – to make life a misery for so-called criminal Mr Bigs.
The guilty will be publicly named and shamed and pictures will be released of the assets that have been seized – such as yachts, watches, fast cars and jewellery.
Those who refuse to comply with court orders confiscating their money and luxury items will face significantly longer jail sentences.
Home Secretary Theresa May also intends to close a loophole which allows crime barons to switch their assets to their partner by getting ‘divorced’.
Currently, a wife’s claim on her ex-husband’s assets takes precedence to the police. This has been exploited by gangsters to simply pass their wealth to a spouse.
Mrs May said: ‘Organised crime is a threat to our national security so it needs a national response to turn the full force of the state against those behind the most serious crimes.’
With a budget of nearly half-a-billion pounds a year, the NCA will lead the fight against the estimated 37,000 criminals involved in serious and organised crime in the UK.
More than 4,000 NCA officers will tackle crime under four commands, organised crime, economic crime, border policing and child exploitation and online protection, alongside a National Cyber Crime Unit.
Director general Keith Bristow said: ‘To be clear, there will be no one beyond the reach of law enforcement or beyond the reach of the NCA.
‘Those people involved in the most horrible activities can expect the most comprehensive and robust response.’
The launch of the NCA marks the end of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which is to be absorbed into the new organisation. It is the third major shake-up in policing in 15 years.
MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will help with gathering intelligence on serious criminals.
The NCA will also have a sweeping new power to step in to directly task and co-ordinate police forces in a bid to tackle organised crime and secure the UK’s borders.
Mrs May said too many of the near-6,000 organised crime gangs in the UK were escaping justice and a tough new approach was needed.
The NCA will place investigators at UK ports to tackle border crime such as human trafficking and will track down child-sex abusers online.It will also place around 120 officers overseas in 40 different countries.
Mr Bristow, a former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, said unlike Soca, the NCA would not operate as a covert organisation and wants to be recognised by the public.
Some of its officers will wear jackets and caps emblazoned with NCA when on operations.
Mr Bristow added: ‘We’re going to be visible. Frankly, we want the criminals to know who we are, because we want them to fear our attention.’
The NCA will also be recruiting “special” officers – volunteers like special constables in police forces.
They want people with expert backgrounds in cyber or the financial sector, such as forensic accountants.