Investigating and disrupting serious and organised crime

We operate proactively at the high end of high risk, undertaking investigations to bring offenders to justice through prosecution or, if that is not possible, being disrupted using other means.

As serious and organised crime evolves so too must the tools and powers we need to investigate and bring offenders to justice

Intelligence-led investigations

Investigating serious and organised crime is our core remit. We lead our own investigations and work in partnership with other agencies to target, disrupt and arrest groups and individuals involved in serious and organised crime.

Our intelligence-led operational activity is directed at the high end of high risk, as identified by our intelligence picture of serious and organised crime. 

We tackle the highest risk vulnerabilities and enablers that facilitate criminals' illegal activities which threaten our safety and security.

The full range of serious and organised crime threats we combat include:

  • Child sexual exploitation and abuse 
  • Modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Illegal firearms
  • Drug trafficking
  • Money laundering and illicit finance
  • Organised immigration crime
  • Cyber crime
  • Fraud and economic crime
  • Bribery, corruption and sanctions evasion

As well as leading our own investigations we support police, Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) and partner organisations and coordinate regional, national and international activity. We also support investigations around the world by international partners to combat serious and organised crime threats at source.

Where we do not have specialist expertise or resources - for example maritime capability – we work closely with partners such as Border Force, the Royal Navy or international agencies to utilise their specialist resources.


Specialist capabilities

We also provide a range of specialist capabilities to support police investigations. Areas in which we provide support include:

  • Fugitives and international crime
  • Major crime investigative support for police forces dealing with serious crime investigations including no body murder, abduction and serial sexual crimes
  • Serious crime analysis
  • Missing persons
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Civil Recovery & Tax
  • Protected persons
  • International network

See our Specialist capabilities section for further information on the support available.

Specialist investigations

In the case of large, complex or nationally significant cases it may be more appropriate for the NCA to lead an investigation rather than a police force. Requests for us to lead a specialist investigation are typically made by the relevant police force or the IOPC.

NCA specialist investigations currently in progress include investigations into:

  • Non-familial child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, between 1997 and 2013 (Operation Stovewood)
  • Child sexual abuse in the care system in North Wales (Operation Pallial)


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