The Assembly passed a motion that was co-signed by the DUP and Alliance, in which the Assembly gave consent to parliament to pass the necessary legislation to extend the NCA’s responsibilities into devolved matters.
Trevor Lunn MLA said: “I am very pleased that after much discussion, the NCA will be able to operate fully in Northern Ireland. I must praise the efforts of the Justice Minister David Ford in working with the other parties to get the necessary support in the Assembly to back this motion.
“The Police have made it clear that efforts to fight organised crime, protect children, tackle human trafficking and seize criminal assets, have been hampered by the failure to grant the NCA full powers in Northern Ireland. The PSNI have had to divert already scarce resources to fill some of these gaps.
“The NCA’s international reach and its expertise and specialism, offers the PSNI a level of support, and all of us in Northern Ireland a level of protection, that we need. Why on earth would we not avail of its free benefit, to be used in the best interests of law abiding people?
“It is disappointing that Sinn Fein could not support this motion. They have claimed that there is not enough accountability for the NCA, but nobody who has read the papers that the Justice Minister has circulated in recent weeks, can credibly argue that the accountability arrangements around the NCA are insufficient. Their opposition risks sending out mixed messages to organised criminals that the Assembly is not united in efforts to take them on.
“This decision gives the Assembly the opportunity to move on and let the PSNI and NCA get on with the job that they have been given to do.”