In the Media

Warwickshire police chief to head national crime agency

PUBLISHED October 10, 2011

Keith Bristow gets job of masterminding fight against organised crime and boosting child protection online The chief constable of Warwickshire, Keith Bristow, has been picked to set up the new national crime agency, due to become fully operational by December next year. Bristow, a former director of the national crime intelligence service ? a forerunner of the NCA ? was appointed by the home secretary, Theresa May, from a shortlist of four senior officers, which included the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner, Tim Godwin, the Derbyshire chief constable, Mick Creedon, and Surrey police's Mark Rowley. Bristow has been drafted into the high-profile job after May unexpectedly had to appoint the previous frontrunner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, to the job of Met police commissioner after the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson over the phone-hacking affair. As director of NCIS, Bristow was responsible for national and international intelligence on serious organised crime threats. He has also been the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead spokesman on crime and chairs the G8 law enforcement group. He has also held senior roles in the West Midlands police. The creation of the NCA is a major element of the government's police reform plans and will bring together the serious organised crime agency, the child exploitation and online protection centre, and parts of the national policing improvement agency. It is now expected that the NCA may well take over the Met's national counter-terrorism role once the 2012 Olympics are over, in addition to tackling drug and people smuggling, major gun crime, fraud and money laundering. Bristow will need to persuade reluctant chief constables to back the NCA as it will have a unique role in being able to set the "overall operational agenda" for tackling serious and complex crime. As head of this national intelligence hub, Bristow will have the power to direct other police forces and law enforcement agencies to undertake investigations. The delay in appointing a new NCA head to oversee its creation was recently cited by the Commons home affairs select committee as one of a series of high-profile decisions which had not been taken and led the MPs to call for a six-month pause in the government's police reform programme. The home secretary said she was delighted to announce Bristow as the new head of the national crime agency. "For too long we have lacked a strong, collaborative national response in the fight for criminal justice. The NCA will make the UK a more hostile environment for serious and organised crime and strengthen our border. "In his new role, Keith Bristow will develop an agency of powerful operational crime fighters who will ensure those who commit serious and organised crime are tracked down, pursued and brought to justice. "Keith Bristow will be the NCA's first operational head and will play a vital role in developing the new agency." Bristow said: "The NCA will protect communities and individuals from harm by tackling serious, organised and complex crime. In partnership with other law enforcement agencies we will ensure that criminals are identified, pursued and brought to justice; their groups dismantled and their activities disrupted. We will do even more to strip away their illegally obtained assets. "Officers and staff from existing agencies that will become part of the NCA are already working hard to tackle serious, organised and complex crime, and new approaches and capabilities will become operational before 2013 to cut crime and protect our borders. "I shall be working closely with chief constables, leaders of other law-enforcement organisations, police authorities, police and crime commissioners, and the government to ensure that the NCA delivers the maximum protection possible for communities within the resources it has available." Police Crime Organised crime Alan Travis © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds