National Hi-Tech Crime Unit

National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU)

National Hi-Tech Crime UnitThe National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) previously formed part of the NATIONAL CRIME SQUAD (NCS), a specialist unit within the British Police which investigated major criminal offences.

The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was created in 2001 as a result of an ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS ACPOinitiative to provide better investigative capability for the growing issue of online crime and to support conventional Policing. The NHTCU investigated serious and organised crime committed over the Internet, including credit card fraud, hacking, virus creation/dissemination, and most offences that may have involved the use of computers and/or telecommunications equipment.

On 1 April 2006 the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit ceased to exist. However, many of its staff, technical resources, and operational duties were transferred to the e-crime unit of the UK’s new SERIOUS AND ORGANISED CRIME AGENCY (SOCA).

NHTCU first merged with SOCA, which in turn was absorbed by then NCASOCA was formed following a merger of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (elements of which were incorporated into AVCIS), the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), the investigative and intelligence sections of HM Revenue & Customs on serious drug trafficking, and the Immigration Service’s responsibilities for organised immigration crime. The Assets Recovery Agency became part of SOCA in 2008, while the SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE (SFO) remained a separate agency.

National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU)

In June 2011, the coalition government announced that SOCA’s operations, including those elements of the former National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, would be merged into a larger NATIONAL CRIME AGENCYto launch in 2013. The new agency, created through the Crime and Courts Act 2013, commenced operations on 7 October 2013.

The NCA responds on a 24/7 basis, targeting the criminals and groups posing the biggest risks to the UK. It does this in three ways:

  • by conducting its own operations
  • by providing operational and specialist support to its partners’ operations
  • by providing clear national leadership which ensures that UK law enforcement makes the best use of its collective resources and targets those most effectively


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