Tag Archives: HMRC

Home Secretary praises National Crime Agency on organisation’s first anniversary

During its first year of operation, the National Crime Agency has “broken new ground in the fight against serious and organised crime” and received due praise from Home Secretary Theresa May for doing so.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy – which was also launched on 7 October 2013 – represent a step change in the Government’s approach to combating serious and organised crime, which is estimated to cost the UK at least £24 billion per annum.

“The National Crime Agency has achieved a great deal in its first year of operation,” stated Theresa May. “Through its close partnership with law enforcement agencies both at home and overseas, the NCA is demonstrating that no-one is beyond its reach.”

The NCA has broken new ground in its investigation of serious and organised crime offences right across the spectrum, including in the area of modern slavery. In its first six months, the organisation achieved over 500 disruptions against serious and organised criminals and secured 300 convictions.

The NCA also co-ordinated a national operation tackling the sharing of child abuse images online. To date, this element of its investigations has resulted in over 600 arrests.

In addition, the NCA has led an international operation designed to tackle malware used for cyber crime and, in parallel, published the National Strategic Assessment – the most authoritative evaluation of the threat to the UK ever put in print.

The National Crime Agency has achieved much in its first year of operation

The National Crime Agency has achieved much in its first year of operation

The NCA is collaborating more closely than ever with law enforcement partners such as HMRC and police forces. Meanwhile, Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) have been strengthened so as to maintain a sophisticated and cohesive regional response to organised crime.

“Now, the NCA needs to build on its strong start and get ahead of the threat,” added the Home Secretary. “This means it must continue to work with a broad range of partners in order to build the best possible intelligence picture and use all of the tools available to disrupt and, importantly, prosecute organised criminals.”

Introduction of the Serious Crime Bill

The new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is based on the successful framework used for counter-terrorism – Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare – and sets out a comprehensive, detailed cross-Government approach.

As part of this work, the Government has introduced a Serious Crime Bill to ensure that the NCA, the police service and others have the powers they need at their disposal. Measures include the new offence of participation in an organised crime group which targets corrupt lawyers, accountants and other professionals who’ve tried to evade justice by hiding behind a veneer of respectability.

The Government is also building on its success in seizing criminal assets. Over the last four years, around £750 million has been recovered, £93 million returned to victims and in excess of £2.5 billion frozen to put it beyond the reach of criminals.

Measures in the Serious Crime Bill will close loopholes used by criminals to avoid confiscation orders. For example, some criminals attempt to hide money by giving it to third parties such as spouses and associates.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

The Government is committed to working with partners in other European countries – among them Europol and Interpol and also organisations across the private sector – to ensure the UK can act decisively beyond its own borders.

Back in April, the Home Office established a Financial Sector Forum to encourage better information sharing between the Government, law enforcement agencies and the financial services sector and improve the overall response to financial crime.

Tackling the cyber threat

The Government is improving its response to cyber threats by acquiring new technologies and capabilities. For instance, an investment of £860 million is being made over five years through the National Cyber Security Programme. So far, the Home Office has allocated £70 million of that sum to improve law enforcement cyber capabilities.

Last year, the Home Office provided an additional £10 million of funding to the ROCUs, in turn leading to new capabilities that better handle intelligence, protect witnesses and tackle cyber crime and fraud. Further new investments are being made before the end of the year.

“This Government,” continued Theresa May, “has demonstrated considerable progress in the fight against serious and organised crime. After too many years in which organised criminal gangs, their members and their associates ‘got away with it’, we are now sending the clearest possible message. Whoever you are and wherever you are, if you’re involved in organised crime then we will come after you, we will find you, we will prosecute you and we will punish you.”

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Security Industry Authority orchestrates new Buying Right campaign for end users

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is launching Buying Right, a new campaign designed to support security buyers.

Buying Right will see the SIA work alongside HM Revenue and Customs and UK Visas and Immigration to help protect security buyers against risks such as immigration, tax and security licensing offences.

From September, the SIA will be working with security buyers in the construction sector where some security arrangements have been identified as high risk. With the support of HMRC partners, SIA investigators will be meeting with construction companies to offer advice and support on due diligence and Best Practice, and to ensure that construction companies are procuring lawful security services.

Security buyers can lower the risk of working with unlawful security providers by only purchasing security from an SIA Approved Contractor.

The SIA is launching Buying Right, a new campaign to support security buyers

The SIA is launching Buying Right, a new campaign to support security buyers

Discussing this move, SIA CEO Bill Butler said: “Buying Right allows the SIA to work with its partners to support businesses in developing their understanding of how to procure legitimate security services that help protect the public. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether a security company is providing labour legally and safely. A supplier’s hourly rate is one of the key indicators that this is the case, and that’s where we can help security buyers understand their security purchase.”

Butler continued: “Buying from companies that are members of our Approved Contractor Scheme affords purchasers further reassurance as to the quality and standards of a security supplier. With the support of our partners, we will help the construction sector improve the standards of its security provision, in turn supporting legitimate businesses and driving out security companies that are operating outside of the law.”

*For more information on due diligence when procuring security services or labour providers, security and risk managers should download the HMRC leaflet available on its website

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SIA leads multi-agency enforcement operations across London and Manchester

A Security Industry Authority-led multi-agency operation orchestrated to check on security licensing and tax evasion took place over two weekends in May.

With the support of HM Revenue and Customs and the Metropolitan Police Service, investigators from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) conducted checks on door supervisors and security officers working in London and Manchester.

The team was assembled after the SIA submitted intelligence to HMRC on companies and venues with doubtful employment statuses for their staff – a suspected tactic to evade the payment of tax.

Door supervisors and security officers

Over the first weekend, the operation focused on door supervisors working in licensed premises including pubs and clubs. On the final weekend of the month, the focus changed to security officers working in retail venues in shopping centres across the two cities.

In total, 180 security operatives were checked across 67 venues. Of those checked, a door supervisor in Stockport was found to be working with another person’s photocopied SIA licence. Enquiries are being taken forward by the police.

Dave Humphries: director of partnerships and interventions at the SIA

Dave Humphries: director of partnerships and interventions at the SIA

A further five warnings were issued to individuals for failing to notify the SIA of a change of their address, which is a breach of SIA licensing conditions.

HMRC investigations are ongoing.

Working together to tackle crime

The SIA’s director of partnerships and interventions, Dave Humphries, commented: “It’s encouraging that the SIA, the police and the HMRC are working together to tackle crime. This gives a clear message that non-compliance with the law, be it to do with the requirements of SIA licence regulation or tax evasion, will not be tolerated within the private security industry.”

Andrew Odin of HMRC’s Specialist Investigations Division said: “We work with other Government departments and agencies to crack down on those who don’t want to pay what they should. Our message is clear… If you seek to evade tax or defraud the tax system, HMRC can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

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