NCA statement on review of warrant procedures

27 November 2015

As a result of issues identified with warrants in two cases that went before the courts, Operations Heterodon and Enderby, the NCA has instigated a comprehensive review of inherited processes and standards around warrant applications, and of live cases where issues with warrants may not have been previously identified.

The review is of all warrants, production orders, account monitoring orders and authorisations for searches under s18 of PACE in all live cases. It is chaired by a member of the NCA legal team, independent from the part of the NCA which obtained the warrant and is assisted by the CPS.

This is a substantial task but we are determined to ensure that the issues affecting Operations Heterodon and Enderby are not repeated.

As well as the review, we have issued updated guidance to officers, revised the legal and awareness training for officers applying for warrants, and introduced additional rigour to the application and authorisation process, ensuring all new applications meet the required standard. We are sharing our experience with law enforcement and police colleagues to ensure that they too can learn from the cases.

Our cases are complex and challenging, and the nature of the criminals we investigate requires us to be dynamic and assertive in our approach. We are proud of our conviction rate, which was 91% last year, and we do not want any prosecution to fail, particularly if there is anything we can do ourselves to prevent that.

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