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Working for the National Crime Agency as director general

Dame Lynne Owens, 52, is director-general of the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is the UK’s national law enforcement agency that leads the fight to cut serious and organised crime.

Serious and organised criminals include:

  • those who target the vulnerable (through child sexual abuse, modern slavery and human trafficking)
  • those who dominate communities through intimidation and violence (including via supplying firearms and class A drugs)
  • and those who harm the state and its citizens (particularly through fraud, cyber crime and illegally-gained wealth).

We build intelligence, conduct investigations, and work with many partners to target the worst offenders, protect victims and prevent criminal groups from operating successfully.

What is your job within the National Crime Agency?

I am responsible for running the National Crime Agency, with a budget of around £700m and approximately 6,000 officers – some of whom are based overseas.

My priority is to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the public. I also have to ensure that government and partners are aware of how serious and organised crime – a national security threat – is impacting on the UK and that we are set up to take the fight to the criminals.

Like all leaders, I also have a keen eye on who we employ, how we develop them and how we reward the terrific work they do. They’re a great bunch who are often exposed to the worst sides of life but are motivated by the difference they make.

Read more: How I became a police officer

What is your job like day-to-day?

It’s a cliché but no two days are the same. I have a legal responsibility to authorise some of our most covert activity, and giving that careful consideration takes time and keeps me close to our operational work.

I also spend time with NCA officers, influencing partners in various forums, managing our budget, our people, our future plans, and working internationally.

What was your career leading up to it?

My pre-NCA career was in policing, but a great thing about the Agency is that we welcome people from a host of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity is one of our biggest strengths.

What advice would you give someone who wants to work for the National Crime Agency?

Apply! There’s nothing more rewarding than protecting the public, whether it’s keeping children safe from horrific abuse, removing lethal firearms from the streets, preventing the UK being a haven for illicit finance – or many other examples. If this interests you, visit our website or follow us on social media to find out more.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t limit yourself or compare yourself negatively to others. Get stuck in, work as hard as you can and fulfillment will come.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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