NCA seeks chief to fight ‘criminals who have embraced technology’

National Crime Agency recruiting for leader to replace Lynne Owens

Credit: Pete Linforth/Pixabay

The new director general of the National Crime Agency will need to operate in a world where online offences and other technology-enabled crime are a large and growing part of the threats posed by criminals.

The NCA has begun its recruitment campaign to find a permanent successor to Dame Lynne Owens, who retired as director general in September. It is offering a salary of up to £223,441 a year for the right candidate – in line with Owens’s £220,000-£225,000 salary bracket reported in the law-enforcement body’s annual report and accounts for 2020-2021.

The job advert said: “Strong and experienced leadership at the top of the NCA is more important now than ever before. The willingness of organised criminals to embrace new technology, especially online, has increased the complexity of the threat, and criminal behaviour has become less predictable as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Owens’s decision to retire followed her diagnosis with, and initial treatment for, breast cancer over the summer. She had been NCA head for five years and nine months and was saluted by Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft and home secretary Priti Patel.

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NCA economic crime lead Graeme Biggar was appointed as the agency’s interim director general effective from October.

The job description for his full-time replacement said eligible candidates would have extensive experience of serious and organised crime threats. They should have served as a deputy chief constable of a UK police force or in a higher rank, or performed a role of “equivalent seniority” within the public or private sector.

It specified “extensive relevant experience of UK law enforcement and/or national security” as a must for the senior civil service pay band four job.

“As DG NCA you will have a pivotal role in UK and international law enforcement, and will be directly accountable to the home secretary,” the advert said. “You will set the strategy for the NCA and wider approach within government and its partners to tackling serious and organised crime.

“You will need the confidence and drive to lead the agency through a period of significant transformation and inspire a workforce of approximately 6,000 people. You will role model integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.”

The DG can base themselves in London, Birmingham or Warrington, according to the candidate pack, but will need to travel to other UK and international offices. It specifies that the job is a five-year fixed-term appointment.

Applications are open until 3 January. Final interviews for shortlisted candidates are expected to take place in late February.


Sam Trendall

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